Sunday, May 27 , 2018, 3:47 am | Fair 57º

 
 
 
 

David Harsanyi: Do Most Americans Really Agree With Democrats on the Issues?

According to the many experts, Republicans are expected to hold the House of Representatives and could even take the Senate. This seems to be a perplexing turn of events for many in the media.

“Poll: Democrats’ advantage on key issues is not translating to a midterm-election edge,” reads the headline of a Washington Post piece by Dan Balz and Scott Clement examining the guts of a Washington Post-ABC News poll — which, in turn, is titled “Democrats hold issue advantage, but not on 2014 midterm vote.”

Take health care. The authors explain that despite “the problems with the health-care law’s implementation” (because only the “implementation” has been problematic, right?), “Democrats maintain an edge over Republicans on which party Americans trust to deal with the issue, by a margin of 44 percent to 36 percent.”

In hypothetical terms, Democrats do hold a lead on the “trust” between the two parties — a lead that has significantly contracted since Barack Obama held 20-point leads on a Republican challenger back when he was first running for president in 2008. More significantly, though, what the authors left out of the story was that 15 percent of extraordinarily sensible voters say they don’t trust either party to handle their health care choices.

Once we recalculate, adding in those numbers, here’s what the poll actually tells us:

» Americans who want Democrats running their health care: 44 percent.

» Americans who do not want Democrats running their health care: 51 percent.

In fact, the very same Washington Post ran a post titled “Don’t trust either political party? Then you’ve probably thought about voting Republican in 2014,” which makes the case that disgruntled and independent voters are breaking toward the GOP. Why does it matter? Not long ago, Gallup found that 42 percent of Americans identified as political independents in 2013. It’s the highest percentage the pollster has recorded since it began asking the question.

And the Washington Post-ABC News poll breakdown finds that independents — largely ignored in stories — make up the largest bloc of its polling (30 percent Democrats, 22 percent Republicans and 40 percent independents).

So ignoring independents can trigger wishful thinking.

Republicans may be unpopular, but when it comes to quantifiable, real-world health-care policy, Democrats are, at the very least, also losing. When those polled were asked whether they approve or disapprove of the way Obama is handling “implementation” of the new health-care law, 38 percent said they approve, and 57 percent said they disapprove. (One wonders what the numbers would look like if those polled were asked whether they approve or disapprove of the law itself rather than just its execution.) But even if we concede that the GOP has a baffling inability to articulate a meaningful reform platform — or, even if it had the ability, would offer a policy that is unpopular — it’s quite a jump to assume that Americans approve of the technocratic misery they’ve been subjected to thus far.

Almost every issue (save some social issues) break similarly in polls. Even with that said, not all issues are equally significant. Obama is attempting to transform the minimum wage into a “key” issue, because it’s not. In Gallup’s “most important” issues poll, the minimum wage issue shows up nowhere, with even “the gap between rich and poor” pulling a 2 percent showing. Immigration is similarly unimportant to most voters.

That’s not to say that broadly speaking, these aren’t useful political strikes on the GOP. But if we’re to believe polls, the most vital issues to voters are the economy, jobs and deficits/debt. And when asked which political party they trust to do a better job handling the economy, voters in the Washington Post-ABC News poll split evenly at 41 percent — with 12 percent saying neither. That seems to reflect the nation’s preference more than any cherry-picked poll numbers.

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist. Click here for more information, or click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @davidharsanyi, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >