Sunday, June 06, 2010

By the numbers: what the polls show.

Democrats to lose big time

The latest poll data shows the Obama-led Democrats will suffer as badly as did the Bush-led Republicans. Obama has proven himself to be another Bush, albeit more articulate—but I have plants that are more articulate than Dubya.

Poll data shows that the Republicans may have reached the "tipping point" where the House of Representatives changes hands, back to the GOP. Over at Gallup they say:
Last week the re-percentaged share of the vote for Democrats among registered voters was 47%. Again, that’s among registered voters. If things go as usual, the percentage of the vote for Democrats among likely voters would be even lower. In other words, if the voter sentiment we picked up last week was to prevail up to Election Day, the Democratic control of the House would indeed be in peril.
I think it very likely that voters will punish the Democrats for Obama's power-grab in health care, a very unpopular move with around 2/3rds of voters wanting the measure repealed. Writers at Gallup were saying that 47% share of the vote the Democrats were on the cusp of losing the House. But since then, Gallup's own poll shows that support for the Democrats dropped down to 43%. Republicans are now 6 points ahead in the generic poll and with likely voters the spread would be even higher.

My own guesstimate would be that the Republicans are going to pick up 40 to 50 seats, given them comfortable control of the House of Representatives.

Other signs of Democratic weakness is that voters are now split three ways regarding party identification. Equal numbers say they are Democrats, Republicans and independents. The modern mugwumps are the independent voters, who have been vacillating between the parties, voting for whichever party least disgusts them at the moment, but never really voting for anyone. With independents the Republicans have a 14 point lead.

As far as I'm concerned, if you want a short cut method of predicting poltiical trends look at where the independents are on the issue. They are the swing voters and which way they swing determines elections. I still believe they are also the most libertarian of the three main voting blocks, but neither party gives them someone to vote for, only candidates to vote against.

The tipping point in gay acceptance.

Another milestone was reached, according to Gallup. For the first time a majority of Americans say that it is morally acceptable for someone to be gay—how nice of them! I find the whole idea that such a poll is necessary to be absurd. As I see it we don't ask if it is morally acceptable to be a Catholic, though with the actions of the Vatican, we might want to. The recent annual Values and Beliefs poll found that 52% of Americans say that being gay is morally acceptable while 43%, no doubt the god-besotted, say it is morally wrong for someone to be gay. In 2001 the numbers were 40% to 53%, so tolerance has gained 12 points in the meantime.

What is particularly interesting is that the gains have come predominantly from men, who tend to be less tolerant on such matters—perhaps less secure, but I won't go there. Since 2006 the percentage of men saying being gay is morally acceptable has increased from 39% to 53%, and for the first time men are more accepting of gay people than women, 53% to 51%. Where acceptance gained 14 points among men, since 2006, the gain among women was just 2 points.

The largest gains were among men under the age of 50, or those 18 to 49. Younger men are now the most gay-friendly of the gender/age groups, with 62% saying being gay is okay. For men older than 50 the number is just 44% but this is still a 9 point gain from 2006. Among women under 50 those who are tolerant has grown by 4 points in the last four years, to 49%, and for women over 50 it is 43%. Even among older people men are now more tolerant than women.

As for the bellweather independent voters, they are in tune with the younger voters: 61% of them of them say it is morally acceptable to be gay, which puts them in a tie with Democrats. Republcians, once again prove themselves to be the organized force of intolerance in America, with just 35% of them saying it is morally acceptable to be gay.

The religion split is also interesting. The most anti-gay group in religious terms would be Protestants, as a generic group. This is where we would find the fundamentalists, of course, so this is no suprise. Only 42% of Protestants saying being gay is morally acceptable, where 62% of Catholics, 84% of non-Christians and 85% of the non-religious say it is morally acceptable. Gallup reports:

There is a gradual cultural shift under way in Americans' views toward gay individuals and gay rights. While public attitudes haven't moved consistently in gays' and lesbians' favor every year, the general trend is clearly in that direction. This year, the shift is apparent in a record-high level of the public seeing gay and lesbian relations as morally acceptable. Meanwhile, support for legalizing gay marriage, and for the legality of gay and lesbian relations more generally, is near record highs.

Support for marriage equality is also approaching the tipping point. Already 56% of Democrats are on board, a gain of 23 points since 1996. Bellweather independents are at 49%, a gain of 17 points, and Republicans are at just 28%, which is still a gain of 12 points since 96. In the East and the West support for marriage equality is at 53%, in the Midwest it is at 40% and in the Bible-belt South support is just 35%. The tipping point on this issue is not far away.

Iowa is an interesting case on this issue, and seems to be following the Massachusetts pattern. Marriage equality enrages the religious who organize and shout, foam at the mouth, and spit venom. But most people just sit back and watch the events unfolding. As time progresses what they see worries them less and less. KCCI television in Des Moines polled Iowans recently and found that the majority now supported marriage equality: 53% to 41%. This comes after one full year of marriage equality in the state.

Health deform still very unpopular.

Obama's health care power-grab is highly unpopular among voters. Rasmussen polls show that 60% want it repealed and only 36% say they want to save the program. Most believe it will increase the federal deficit and most think it will increase health care costs, a small majority also being it will reduce the quality of care in the United States. I side with the majority on this one.

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