One of the better newsletters out there is from HuffPollster, which isn’t from Huffington Post so much as it is from Pollster, which HP bought a while back. I understand that most people won’t be interested in a polling newsletter but I feel there’s always at least one thing that should grab most people as interesting. I’m going back through some old newsletters (most of March) and here are a few of those things I’ve picked out for you.
Gay marriage opponents don’t know they are a minority
From Wonkbog (Washington Post), 41% of Americans oppose same-sex marriage but nearly two-thirds of them wrongly think they are in a majority. From the newsletter itself, public opinion on same-sex marriage as tracked by the Post has reversed itself from 55-37% opposition in 2003 to 59-34% support this month.
The 2016 GOP field is so wide open that more people would “definitely” vote for Mitt Romney (12%) than any other candidate. Rand Paul is second with 9%. Christ Christie, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee are tied for 6%. More people would also “definitely” not vote for Mitt Romney (49%) than any other candidate, followed by Jeb Bush (48%), Mike Huckabee and Rick Perry (40%), and Chris Christie (39%).
Just before CPAC
Conservatives are just as likely to list repealing the Affordable Care Act as what should be the government’s top priority, as improving the economy. Overall, jobs tops the list by a huge margin. Few conservatives say dealing with alleged IRS and Benghazi scandals should be a top priority.
And: polls have not changed, most Americans want the ACA “fixed”, not repealed.
Then and Now
A plurality (48%) of Americans approved of the Obama administration’s handling of the Ukraine situation as of March 10th, and 59% supported economic sanctions against Russia. 17% supported airstrikes and 12% wanted US boots on the ground.
Uninsured rate decrease – Gallup found on March 10th that the number of uninsured Americans has fallen to its lowest level since before the recession, from 18% to 17.1%, to 15.9% in its last three measurements. 18% was also a record high.
Political future closed due to traffic jam – Despite recently winning reelection by a large margin, Chris Christie’s job approval rating went negative in March.
I think you can ignore all analysis of that race because it boils down to this: FL-13 may have been a “swing district” due to its ideological makeup, but that district hasn’t elected a Democrat since the 1950s.
Desk tube – Fewer than 50% of Americans use their television as a primary source of video content for the first time (so politicians need to advertise online a lot more.)
538 – Nate Silver projects Republicans as a slight favorite to exit the fall election with a majority of seats. Four things about that:
(a) A slight favorite to win can become a slight favorite to lose very quickly. In statistics there’s very little difference between “slight favorite” and “tossup”, especially given how few data points (seats) we’re talking about. One seat going in the “wrong” direction could turn Republicans from a 60-40 favorite into a 40-60 underdog when you’re only talking about 6-8 seats total.
(b) Just because 538 is struggling with data-driven journalism is some areas doesn’t mean that Nate Silver has forgotten how to analyze and project elections. He’s still one of the top minds in the field and you’d be dismissing him at your own peril. To illustrate this, other experts like Charlie Cook, from what I’ve seen, agree with Nate Silver.
(c) Sean Trende (Real Clear Politics via HuffPollster) points out that Silver had Duke a 93% favorite over Mercer in the NCAA tournament. Duke lost. Yet such projections can still be correct if teams given a 93% chance of winning end up losing 7% of the time.
(d) Nate Silver correctly projected all 50 states in the 2012 Presidential election and 49 of 50 in 2008. Nothing is ever certain, nothing is ever 100%.
Are Americans informed enough to have an opinion on the Affordable Care Act? 42% can’t even explain what a deductible is.
A possible reason why ACA signups haven’t actually exceeded projections by a wide margin – A third of the uninsured have no idea they are legally required to have insurance by March 31st, 2014, as of March 26th.