Thursday, July 12, 2012

Polls and what you need to look for

What’s New Today

Story #1 looks at an eyewitness account of a campaign speech by Mitt Romney.  #2 has Lanny Davis warning people about polls.  I find them helpful, but you need to know what you are actually looking at (read the demographics).  #3 Jay Cost seems to know what he’s actually looking at and has condensed it down in some easy to read charts.  #4 show how the real hope and change that America can look forward to is not in Washington, but is in the ground.  #5 looks at Obamacare and women and wonders if there is a war on women as Obamacare will give them a free procedure to mutilate their bodies.  #6 is another one of those stories about how not everyone is happy with the socialistic medicine available just north of the border.  #7

Today’s Thoughts 

The number of waiters and waitresses ages 18 to 30 with college degrees increased by 81 percent from 2000 to 2010 — to 159,645 –according to U.S. Census Bureau figures. The number of janitors with college degrees rose by 87 percent to 20,475.  Thanks Barack. 

Center for American Progress, has a new study which shows 37 percent of fourth-graders say their math work is “often” or “always” too easy, 57 percent of eighth-graders says the same about their history work, and 39 percent of seniors say they rarely have to write papers on what they read about in class.

From the Obama Campaign Website on why to vote for Obama: After three and a half years as President, Barack Obama is much better prepared to lead us again.”  He went from having no experience to having experienced failure.

Romney spoke to the NAACP yesterday and was booed.  The MSM seems to think Romney was a fault for this.   Was it Romney or the audience that were being jerks?

1.  A look at Romney

Since Mitt Romney wrapped up the Republican nomination for president a few weeks ago, the Democrats have been throwing everything but the kitchen sink at him.

In tens of millions of dollars of advertising and nonstop campaigning by the president, Romney has taken an (unfair) beating over his years at Bain Capital, his wealth, his tax bill, his wife's hobbies and more.

As one joke making its way around the Internet put it, “By now we are supposed to be more angry about how Mitt Romney spends his money than we are about how the president spends our money!”…

…As it turns out, a number of self-appointed experts in the Republican ranks have started to carp that Romney's campaign is all screwed up….

…Well, for the record-breaking number of Republican Party faithful (and more than a few self-identified Democrats and independents, as well) who turned out on Tuesday night in Aspen to support Romney's campaign, it was pretty clear that the naysayers are dead wrong.

Romney spoke for nearly 30 minutes in inspired tones on a broad range of issues facing the country. He laced his remarks with a tremendous amount of specificity, just the right amount of humor and a genuine compassion for all the people in this country still suffering under the strain of a failed economy.

The Republican nominee told several very moving stories about real-life Americans he's met around the country who have built successful small businesses from scratch but now worry about their ability to grow their businesses and the ranks of their employees.

Like he did during his years as a business-turnaround expert, Romney also said he would focus like a laser beam on a five-point plan once elected president.

He said he would reverse the president's anti-energy policies and support domestic energy production, including natural gas and oil exploration, as well as the Keystone pipeline.

He said that unlike president Obama, who has shown no interest in trade agreements, which he would immediately engage in trade talks to open up new markets to American goods and services.

The former governor also promised to prevent the country from going off a “fiscal cliff” in January, and make the current tax rates permanent.

He said he would fight for more choice in education. And, he capped his plan with a rousing promise to renew our spirit of freedom and independence and our God-given “right to life, liberty and (especially) the pursuit of happiness.”

When his remarks were finished, the governor worked the room with total ease, leaving no doubt to the assembled crowd that he is clearly as comfortable in his own skin as he is in the company of strangers.

He joked, he listened, and he made sure to say how grateful he was for everyone's support. And, he made one thing abundantly clear — he knows exactly what he's doing and what he's doing is working…

If you think the complaints about Romney are nasty, can you imagine what it is like in private if you are an Obama supporter.  The strategy they are using is the same one they would have used on any GOP candidate.  The problem they have is where Santorum or Gingrich might have been scary to some people, Romney is not.  He’s a smart, moderate conservative, who has shown he can work with Democrats (he was the governor of Massachusetts) and get things done. 

2. Lanny Davis:  Beware of polls 

As Republican pundit Rich Mullens noted in his must-read daily blog, Mullings:

“According to the RealClearPolitics average of polling in 12 swing states, Obama has leads outside the margin of error in only Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Nevada, Romney leads in two (North Carolina and Missouri) and the rest are essentially tied, such as Obama’s 0.8 percent lead in Florida.”
Doesn’t USA Today/Gallup’s own comparison between April and June pool results in the battlegrounds as well as this RealClearPolitics data demonstrate that, if anything, Obama’s negative ads have actually hurt … Obama?

The moral of the story: When you see all the media jumping in one direction in interpreting polls, beware.

When they don’t tell you the total sample, or subsample in the battlegrounds, or the margin of error of the subsample, or whether there were control groups to determine whether the negative ads “caused” the change of minds, beware….

Polls even now are very helpful, if you know how to interpret them.  The race seems close if you use registered voters and stack the deck with from 7-12 percent more Democrats than Republicans in the sample. 

3.  Jay Cost Looks at the polls

…After the back-to-back debacles of 1980 and 1984, the Democratic party essentially rebuilt its core coalition. Since 1988 the party has not fallen below 46 percent of the two party vote, either in the presidential contest or the national House race. That looks to be the core Democratic base of support in this country.

If we go by his job approval, this is roughly all President Obama is holding at the moment. He pulls in a little bit more in most polls most of the time, but not very much. The most recent read from the RealClearPolitics average of polls has him at 46.8 percent approval. (And the bulk of those polls are either polls of adults or registered voters, which tend to be more favorable to Democrats than the actual electorate.)

Moreover, the same holds true when we look at different groups. For this, we can turn to the Gallup poll, which offers a fantastic amount of data on a weekly basis. The following chart compares Obama’s job approval among whites, African Americans, and Hispanics (averaged over the last four weeks) against the performance of the Democratic candidate for president in 1988, 2004, and 2008.

The last Democrat to win a majority of the white vote was Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Obviously, Democrats do not need to win a majority of whites to win the White House, but they need more than 37 percent.

Note as well that Obama's numbers with African Americans and Hispanics are off their highs, at least at the moment. Contrary to what one hears from the promulgators of the “Emerging Democratic Majority” thesis, there are swing voters in both groups – and it looks as though Obama is not holding them at the moment, either.

What about partisan identification?

I’ll admit I’ve been looking at other factors, but the tables created here are compelling.  Obama is down everywhere in approval ratings.  I was struck by the RealClearPolitic average approval of 46.8% among registered voters.  Since the 46% base is among likely voters, I would posit that he isn’t even holding the base right now. 

4.  The Real Hope and Change

But none of that conventional wisdom now seems very wise -- largely because of a number of technological breakthroughs and equally unforeseen political upheavals. 

The eurozone is unraveling. An aging, shrinking population and a socialist welfare state lead to serfdom, not utopia. War guilt and EU membership will no longer ensure German subsidies, but rather serve to alienate the German public. Europe's cloudy future hinges not on Brussels technocrats, but on Europeans learning how to deal with a dynamic, increasingly confident and peeved Germany.
The Arab Middle East is now in a free fall. Tyrants in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen were ousted, while one in Syria totters. But while the world hoped secular democrats would follow in their wake, more likely we are witnessing the emergence of one-election Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood. The region will be mired in turmoil whether these upheavals turn out to be like the hijacked Iranian revolution that ended in theocracy, or the Turkish democratic model that is insidiously becoming Islamist. 

Horizontal drilling and fracking have made oil shale and tar sands rich sources of oil and natural gas, so much so that the United States may prove to possess the largest store of fossil fuel reserves in the world -- in theory, with enough gas, oil and coal soon never to need any imported Middle Eastern energy again. "Peak oil" is suddenly an anachronism. Widespread American use of cheap natural gas will do more to clean the planet than thousands of Solyndras. 

If the United States utilizes its resources, then its present pathologies -- massive budget and trade deficits, mounting debt, strategic vulnerability -- will start to subside. These new breakthroughs in petroleum engineering are largely American phenomena, reminding us that there is still something exceptional in the American experience that periodically offers the world cutting-edge technologies and protocols -- such as those pioneered by Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Starbucks and Walmart…
…Who would have thought that a few fracking innovators in Texas would change the world's carbon footprint far more than did Nobel laureate Al Gore -- while offering a way for the U.S. to be energy-independent. Or that Angela Merkel, not the European Union, would run Europe. Or that Arabs would be overthrowing Arabs, as oil-rich Israel idly watched. 

There is a lot of hope and change in the air right now.  Of course the man who ran on Hope and Change could never take us where we need to go to allow this to happen.  His EPA is doing all it can to restrict fracking, stop offshore drilling, while shutting down the coal industry.  Hope and Change only happens when we get a new President. 

5.  Obama’s war on women

No previous president ever promoted a giveaway more peculiar than Barack Obama's mandate that all health care plans must offer free sterilizations to all women -- but not all men -- capable of breeding. 

This mandate is Obama's defining act as president -- just as his adamant opposition to a bill that would have defined a born baby as a "person" was his defining act as an Illinois state senator.
Obama's Department of Health and Human Services proposed the mandate last August and finalized it in January. It takes effect Aug. 1.
The mandate says health care plans must provide without cost-sharing "all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity."
So, what does sterilization do to a woman? And why does Obama want all women "with reproductive capacity" to be offered one for free? 

Specifically, sterilization mutilates part of a woman's body so it can no longer carry out its natural and healthy function. 

By analogy, if a doctor severed a woman's optic nerve her eyes would no longer see. Here, a doctor severs a woman's fallopian tubes so her womb can no longer conceive a child. 

Obama manifestly believes offering this particular mutilation free of charge to all women -- but not men -- is good. But why? …

It is odd that there is no mandate to provide males with free sterilization.  I guess Barack feels the male equipment should be left alone. 

6.  Canada--a look at what Obamacare will bring?

A Canadian study released Wednesday found that many provinces in our neighbor to the north have seen patients fleeing the country and opting for medical treatment in the United States.

The nonpartisan Fraser Institute reported that 46,159 Canadians sought medical treatment outside of Canada in 2011, as wait times increased 104 percent — more than double — compared with statistics from 1993.

Specialist physicians surveyed across 12 specialties and 10 provinces reported an average total wait time of 19 weeks between the time a general practitioner refers a patient and the time a specialist provides elective treatment — the longest they have ever recorded.

In 2011, Canadians enrolled in the nation’s government-dominated health service waited long periods of time for an estimated 941,321 procedures. As many as 2.8 percent of Canadians were waiting for treatment at any given time, according to the Institute.

“In some cases, these patients needed to leave Canada due to a lack of available resources or a lack of appropriate procedure/technology,” according to the Institute. “In others, their departure will have been driven by a desire to return more quickly to their lives, to seek out superior quality care, or perhaps to save their own lives or avoid the risk of disability.”…

Single payer health care (the gold standard for progressives) reminds you of Winston Churchill’s observation regarding Capitalism and Socialism where socialism is the equal division of misery. 

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