Just two months ago, it seemed that Democrats were poised to compete for control of the House of Representatives, but the plagued rollout of the federal Obamacare exchange website and insurance cancellations caused by the law have given Republicans a lift, according to the latest generic congressional ballot poll from CNN (emphasis added):
Two months ago, Democrats held a 50%-42% advantage among registered voters in a generic ballot, which asked respondents to choose between a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district without identifying the candidates. That result came after congressional Republicans appeared to overplay their hand in the bitter fight over the federal government shutdown and the debt ceiling.
But the Democratic lead evaporated, and a CNN poll a month ago indicated the GOP holding a 49%-47% lead. The new survey, conducted in mid-December, indicates Republicans with a 49%-44% edge over the Democrats.
The 13-point swing over the past two months follows a political uproar over Obamacare, which included the botched rollout of HealthCare.gov and controversy over the possiblity of insurance policy cancelations due primarily to the new health law.
It’s not just the generic congressional ballot where Democrats find themselves in trouble. The CNN poll also found a severe lack of enthusiasm from Democratic voters. What’s more, voters are more inclined to vote for a congressional candidate opposed to President Barack Obama (emphasis added):
The opposition to Obamacare has risen to its highest point, according to a CNN poll released on Monday, despite the Obama Administration’s efforts to fix the federal exchange website after a disastrous launch in October.
The CNN poll found that just 35% support Obamacare, while 62% said that they oppose the law. Those numbers are up since last month, when the news channel showed that 40% supported the law and 58% opposed it.
Opposition is spread across ideological beliefs. Forty-three percent (43%) said that they oppose Obamacare because the law is “too liberal.” On the other hand, 15% oppose Obamacare because it is “not liberal enough.”
CNN’s polling director Keating Holland noted that the poll showed that opposition among women rose by 6 points over the last month, to 60% in December from 54% in November. That reflects a similar trend in other polls, despite supporters using the purported benefits for women in the law as part of their pitch to the public.
President Obama and supporters of the health insurance reform law have insisted that Americans will see lower healthcare costs and increased benefits. But poll shows that Americans aren’t buying the rhetoric.
Forty-two percent (42%) of Americans believe that they will be worse off because of Obamacare and 63% said that the law will increase their costs for medical care. Just 16% surmise that they’ll be better off under the law and only 7% believe it will decrease their costs.
Let’s just get this out of the way. The First Amendment protects popular and unpopular speech from government regulation. This recognized and protected fundamental civil liberty should be celebrated.
But the right to free speech is also a two-way street. In short, you have the right to express an opinion, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re free from criticism or derision from those who disagree.
A&E is a private company and can do what it wants, provided it’s within the terms of contractual agreements, just as MSNBC seemingly forced out Alec Baldwin and Martin Bashir. With that said, if you don’t agree with its decision to suspend Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty, you don’t have to watch the network or buy from its advertisers. Indeed, the free market is a great thing.
Enter Piers Morgan.
The CNN talk host weighed in on the controversy on Thursday with this tweet:
Just as the 2nd Amendment shouldn’t protect assault rifle devotees, so the 1st Amendment shouldn’t protect vile bigots. #PhilRobertson
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 19, 2013
Now it’s a free speech issue.
Media Matters for America, the leftist “watchdog” organization funded in part by George Soros, declared victory on Friday in its long battle against Fox News and is moving on to other fronts, including social media and blogs:
[I]n the coming years, Fox will no longer be the center of Media Matters’ universe. That’s because the group believes it has effectively discredited the network’s desire to be seen as “fair and balanced.”
“The war on Fox is over,” said Media Matters Executive Vice President Angelo Carusone. “And it’s not just that it’s over, but it was very successful. To a large extent, we won.”
According to its strategic plan for the next three years, a copy of which was provided to The Huffington Post, Media Matters envisions shifting its focus to new, increasingly influential targets, including Spanish-language media, social media streams, alternative online outlets and morning and entertainment sources. It will enhance its state media and issue-based monitoring, as well as continue its focus on right-wing radio and legacy outlets.
Fox News has long-been a target of the left. Media Matters and others claim that it has a conservative bias. President Barack Obama has called Fox News “destructive” and some of his subordinates have labeled the news channel as a “wing of the Republican Party.”
Some of President Obama’s most ardent apologists spent some time on the Sunday talk show circuit desperately trying to spin the Obamacare implementation disaster and the millions of insurance cancellation notices that Americans are receiving because of the law’s narrowly written grandfathered plan regulations.
The message was that President Obama didn’t lie when he said people could keep their health plans under Obamacare, Americans just misunderstood what he was saying, and that people still trust him. Or something.
During a panel discussion on ABC’s This Week, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), one of the most leftist members of the House, tried to spin President Obama’s oft-repeated, now-infamous promise. The problem is that the Minnesota Democrat was incredibly misleading in doing so.
“You know, I just want to say that I think that everything that the president said and did was in pursuit of trying to get Americans, all Americans health care. So I think even though he may have said, if you like your decent insurance, your insurance that works, then you can keep it, I think that people really get that,” Ellison said. “He owned it. He said, look, man, if you misunderstood what I was trying to say, I’m sorry about that.”
“I think that shows integrity. He didn’t do anything to self-promote. He did — what he was doing he was trying to do — to help Americans all over this country for decades,” he added.
President Barack Obama and administration officials have been promoting the subsidies available to many Americans looking to purchase health insurance in hopes that it will draw people to enroll, especially young and health individuals. But CNN reported last week that many of the people that the administration desperately needs to sign-up for coverage won’t have access to these subsidies, after all:
One of the basic tenets of Obamacare is that the government will help lower-income Americans — anyone making less than about $45,900 a year — pay for the health insurance everyone is now mandated to have.
But a CNN analysis shows that in the largest city in nearly every state, many low-income younger Americans won’t get any subsidy at all. Administration officials said the reason so many Americans won’t receive a subsidy is that the cost of insurance is lower than the government initially expected. Subsidies are calculated using a complicated formula based on the cost of insurance premiums, which can vary drastically from state to state, and even county to county.
That doesn’t change the fact that in Chicago, a 27-year old will receive no subsidy to help offset premiums of more than $165 a month if he makes more than $27,400 a year.
In Portland, Oregon, subsidies for individuals making just $28,725 a year phase out for those younger than 35 years old.
The advantage that Democrats had built in the generic congressional ballot has been completely wiped away, and Republicans now hold a slight lead, according to the latest poll from CNN.
The poll, released yesterday, showed that Republicans hold a 49% to 47% edge over Democrats in the generic congressional ballot. That’s a 7-point swing for Republicans from last month’s CNN poll, conducted just after the government shutdown, which found Democrats with a 50/42 advantage.
Other polls have found a similar swings. In recent weeks, Quinnipiac and Fox News showed that Republicans had washed away 9- and 8-point advantages to tie or lead Democrats by a 3 points in the generic congressional ballot. The Real Clear Politics average currently shows Republicans up by 1 point.
The swing in the congressional ballot comes amid the Obamacare meltdown, including a problematic, unworkable exchange website, Healthcare.gov, and more than 5 million insurance policy cancellations, despite President Obama’s oft-repeated promise that Americans could keep their plans under the law.
These controversies have led to a significant drop in President Obama’s approval rating and strengthened public disapproval of Obamacare, in some cases polling firms recording their highest level of opposition.
In early 2010, when congressional Democrats were facing furor back home from constituents over healthcare reform, some remembered the 1994 Republican Revolution feared a similar wave could build and that they could be swept from office.
Then-Rep. Marion Berry (D-AR) recounted part of the discussion, telling a local Arkansas paper that the White House wasn’t worried about voter backlash and that President Obama believed that he was an asset to Democrats that could help assuage voters’ concerns.
“They just don’t seem to give it any credibility at all,” Berry, who didn’t run for re-election in 2010, told the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. “They just kept telling us how good [Obamacare] was going to be.
“The president himself, when that was brought up in one group, said, ‘Well, the big difference here and in ’94 was you’ve got me.’ We’re going to see how much difference that makes now,” he added.
President Obama has relied on his personal likeability and goodwill from voters, even if they disapproved of his job performance, to advance his agenda and win re-election. But a poll from CNN shows that a majority of voters don’t believe that he is honest and trustworthy and that they’re now questioning his management of the government.
The poll shows that 53% of Americans reject the notion that President Obama is a “strong and decisive leader,” up from 48% in June, and another 56% say that he doesn’t inspire confidence, up from 50% in September.
Fifty-three percent (53%) don’t believe that President Obama is “honest and trustworthy,” up from 49% in September, and 60% say that he doesn’t manage the government effectively.
During an appearance on CNN’s Crossfire, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) declined to endorse his home state colleague, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), for reelection next year.
The comments came during a discussion on internal strife in the Republican Party, including primary challenges to incumbents who don’t always vote in a manner with the fiscally conservative views they espouse on the campaign trail. Van Jones, a former Obama Administration official turned pundit, asked Scott if he was supporting Graham.
“You know, as you three have heard recently, I am up for reelection myself. I’m going to make sure that Tim Scott gets out and knocks on as many doors as possible,” the junior South Carolina senator demurred.
“No endorsement for Lindsey tonight?” asked Jones, to which Scott replied, “I’m certainly going to work really hard for Tim Scott reelection.”
It’s not uncommon for a politician who is up for reelection not to endorse in other races during primary season for fear of upsetting supporters. Scott, who was appointed to the seat in December, may truly just want to ensure his own reelection rather than getting involved in another race. That’s one take.
If and when the problems with the federal Obamacare exchange, Healthcare.gov, are resolved, Obama Administration officials worry that the news media will turn its attention to Americans complaining of higher insurance premiums and the lack of plan choices that many areas of the country face:
Officials expressed concern that the next shoe to drop in the evolving story about the Affordable Care Act would be disappointment from consumers once they are able to get on the troubled HealthCare.gov website – disappointment because of sticker shock and limited choice, according to a new document obtained by CNN.
“Mike described a general concern of PM (plan management team): getting to the point where the website is functioning properly and individuals begin to select plans; the media attention will follow individuals to plan selection and their ultimate choices; and, in some cases, there will be fewer options than would be desired to promote consumer choice and an ideal shopping experience. Additionally, in some cases there will be relatively high cost plans,” say the notes from the Obama administration’s Obamacare ‘War Room’ from one week ago.
The discussion appeared to be in reference to an October 24 story by The New York Times titled “Health Care Law Fails to Lower Prices for Rural Areas.”