Thursday, September 10, 2009

What I'll be watching on our health care polling

Barack Obama's speech last night seems to have been a success but I don't put a ton of stock into the long run meaningfulness of instant polls.

Our polling is finding most voter groups pretty intractable on Obama's health care agenda. Support among moderate and liberal Democrats runs from 70% on up. Opposition among moderate and conservative Republicans and conservatives independents runs from 80% on up.

That leaves conservative Democrats and moderate independents as the swing groups Obama needed to reach with his speech last night.

We've found different results on different polls for both of those groups on health care. With moderate independents we found 55% support in North Carolina, 43% in Colorado, 36% in Arkansas, and 30% in Virginia. Nationally it fell in the middle of those numbers at 42%.

Same variability with conservative Democrats- 63% support in Colorado and 62% in Virginia, but just 42% in North Carolina and 41% in Arkansas. When we polled it nationally it was at 69% with that group but that was four weeks ago now and I think the North Carolina number is reflective of a decline.

So what I'm really going to be looking at in polling over the next couple weeks to see if last night was a 'game changer' is the numbers with those two groups- if he can push up to 60-70% support with both of them for his health care goals it's an indication the tide has turned. If it's more in the 45-55 range I think we're right where we were 48 hours ago. And obviously if it's lower that makes the battle that much tougher.

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