Krugman: Public Option NOT a must have

Krugman this morning describes three paths to universal health care.  Given that Krugman has been cited here frequently, it seems obvious that his column this morning is significant.

The third path to universal health care, he describes, is the Swiss approach:


the third route to universal coverage relies on private insurance companies, using a combination of regulation and subsidies to ensure that everyone is covered. Switzerland offers the clearest example: everyone is required to buy insurance, insurers can't discriminate based on medical history or pre-existing conditions, and lower-income citizens get government help in paying for their policies.

snip..

So where does Obamacare fit into all this? Basically, it's a plan to Swissify America, using regulation and subsidies to ensure universal coverage.

If we were starting from scratch we probably wouldn't have chosen this route. True "socialized medicine" would undoubtedly cost less, and a straightforward extension of Medicare-type coverage to all Americans would probably be cheaper than a Swiss-style system. That's why I and others believe that a true public option competing with private insurers is extremely important: otherwise, rising costs could all too easily undermine the whole effort.

But a Swiss-style system of universal coverage would be a vast improvement on what we have now. And we already know that such systems work.

The simple truth is there is a moral imperative to get people coverage who do not have it now.  I have never believed in the end that a solution that provides that access will be opposed by liberals.  

The fight is going to center on the real issue : is health care a right that the government must pay for? If so, does that right become an entitlement that the government must pay for?

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Poll Shock: Clinton Voters support Obama 86-7

In a poll certain to be ignored by every PUMA site in existance, the latest Newsweek Poll finds the following:

Hillary Clinton supporters: Obama 86, McCain 7.

The Puma's appear to be paper tigers.  This won't stop them from claiming to speak for Hillary's 18 million voters.  But it should stop us from treating them seriously.

They represent no one but themselves.  

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Convention Bounces: A History

Jerome asks why there is so little discussion of polling here.

A year ago I would have posted this diary here: I didn't even both when I wrote it at Openleft a month ago.  However, under the assumption that polling still interests people, I repost it here. I repost most of it as is - it was written in early August and correctly predicted both campaigns would wait to the minute to name their nominees for VP.  

Note that at 6 points, Obama's bounce is almost identical to the post '92 convention bounce
This table shows how much of a bounce each candidate has received since 1976.

A note on this data: Gallup has published calculations that show much smaller bounces than I show here.  Their calculations only look at the effect of the party's candidate, and ignore any impact on the candidate's opponent.  

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The Democratic Party is NOT Split

To read the pundit press and blogsphere is be told that the Democratic Party is severely split, and that Clinton supporters are on the verge of leaving the party. In fact, Clinton supporters themselves in blogsphere are repeating this. See for example BTD's post this morning on Talk Left.

But is this true?

No, it isn't. T The table below compares Obama's performance among Democrats in the most recent CBS CBS poll poll taken during the summer in 2004, 2000 and 1996. This poll is almost identical the most recent Rasmussen poll.

1996200020042008
For Democrat90738780
For GOP617912
Net Dem
Advantage
84567868
Here is the key point: at this point Obama runs better than Gore did among Democrats, and pretty to close to where Kerry did. But at this point in the cycle Kerry and Gore had had months to consolidate the party. Obama has just completing a tough primary season: and is almost exactly where they were. We have to stop buying into the Democrats are not united frame. IT ISN"T TRUE!!!

Even more importantly, though, Rassmussen found that the Democratic Party is bigger than it was in 2004. Democrats now lead in Party ID 41.7 to 31.6 (versus 1.6% advantage on election day 2004).

I would expect that Obama will improve his numbers among Democrats over the next few days, but his current position among Democrats is strong.

Finally, let me once again observe how rarely people who write about politics both to check political history.

And tonight's winner is Drudge

Tonight we witnessed what may become viewed as a "tipping point" in American Politics.

Not because I think Obama won.  And not because I think Clinton won.

There was only one real winner in tonight's debate:  Matt Drudge.  

Think about the first 45 minutes of the debate tonight.  How many of the questions ABC asked tonight were the result of issues that really took off when Matt Drudge highlighted them?  I think the answer is at least half.
Tonight we saw the capitulation of the MSM to Matt Drudge.  In fact, I think you can say that the debate tonight was Matt Drudge's crowning achievement.  This was the night when the issues he highlighted came first, and other more serious concern (Iraq, The Economy...) were relegated to the back of the bus.

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Circular Firing Squads and the Latest Polling

A great poet once wrote:


THEY must to keep their certainty accuse
All that are different of a base intent;
Pull down established honour; hawk for news
Whatever their loose fantasy invent

So what are the wages of  circular firing squads?

I know something about primary history.  On Friday I will post a review of National Polling from 1972 to 2004 at Openleft.  Here is one fact I have found in my work:

No one with an approval rating under 40 at this point in the cycle has ever won a two way race.

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Ohio has clearly broken for Clinton

The last two days have seen clear evidence that the race has broken for Clinton in Ohio. Here are the latest polls I have seen and the margin:
PollsterDatesClintonObamaShift from Prior Poll if recent
Survey USAMarch 1-25444Clinton +4
RassmussenMarch 25044Clinton +4
SuffolkMarch 1 -25240N/A
PPDMarch 1 -25142Clinton +5
Univ of Cinc - Ohio PollFeb 28 - March 25241N/A
QuinnipiacFeb 27 - March 24945N/A
ZogbyFeb 29 - March 14547Obama +3
ARGFeb 29 - March 15144NA
Mason DixonFeb 29 - March 14743NA

If you throw out Zogby the average is 50.75 Clinton 42.875 Obama. Please note the table has been updated to reflect the PPD poll that just came out

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Iowa, New Hampshire and National Polling: I was right

In June of this year I became increasingly frustrated by the political discussion in blogsphere.  It was all about the National Polls, and how Clinton could not be beaten.  This disappointed me - it was really no different than what you would read in the Washington Post or Time.  It also angered me, because in a way the national polling was being used as a weapon against dissent within the Democratic Party.  

But what really made me mad was that is completely wrong.  I have been involved in Democratic Politics for nearly 30 years, and the one thing I do know is that National Polls are meaningless before New Hampshire.  And yet these polls were being used to create the impression that resistance to Clinton was futile.

The point of the diary is not to say I told you so.  OK, so it isn't the ENTIRE point of this diary.  I am a strong believer that history can provide guidance about how primaries affect each other.  

Here is what history teaches about the current state of the race:  it is far from over.  After the diary about Iowa and New Hampshire, I wrote another diary about how New Hampshire changed National Polling.  On average, it found that when a front-runner loses New Hampshire, there is a 33-point swing in National Polling.  Since that time I have done more detailed analysis that shows when you include GOP contests since 1980, the average is 34.  

But the data also shows something else: This bounce is reversible.  In at least three instances (1984, 1992 and 1996) the bounce from New Hampshire substantially receded about 3 weeks after New Hampshire.  The reasons for this are complex, and I will write more about this tomorrow.  

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USA TODAY/Gallup in NH: Clinton 32, Obama 32, Edwards 18

Yesterday I wrote a diary suggesting that New Hampshire was breaking towards Hillary.   But as any native Northern New Englander knows, polls are like the weather:  wait a minute and they will change.

As I documented yesterday, polling was showing a pronounced movement to Clinton.  BUT, here are the last 3 polls in New Hampshire:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/polls/table s/live/2007-12-20-nhpoll.htm?loc=interst itialskip

USA Today: Clinton 32, Obama 32, Edwards 18
American Res. Group,  12/16 - 12/19, Clinton 38 Obama 24 Edwards 15  
Rasmussen 12/18 Clinton 31 Obama 28 Edwards 18

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Is the race breaking again in New Hampshire?

There are number of recent polls suggesting that the race may be turning back towards Clinton in New Hampshire. The evidence is consistent and has important implications, particularly for Edwards (whom I support). Let's start by looking at the changes in four recent polls in New Hampshire (I am a strong believer that comparing polls over time from the same pollster is the best way to get a sense of the direction of a race).

PollsterPeriod comparedClintonObamaEdwardsRichardson
American Research GroupDec 12-16 vs Nov 26-2941-2-4
RassmussenDec 18 vs Dec 113-3-10
UNH (CNN)12/13-17 vs 12/6-107-4 -21
Fox News12/11-13 vs 11/27-2942-2-6

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