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The American people WANT "socialism", according to new poll.


Leon Troutsky
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The 2010 elections were a wholesale rejection of Obama's policies, especially health care reform. People want lower taxes, less spending, and less "socialist" programs. The tyranny of Obama's policies were shoved down the throats of Americans against their will.

As usual, the electoral narrative spun after each election is almost completely false:

http://s3.amazonaws.com/nytdocs/docs/562/562.pdf

If you HAD to choose ONE:

Which would you prefer in order to reduce the federal budget deficit:

Raising taxes: 29%

Reducing spending: 62%

Which of the following domestic programs would you be willing to reduce in order to cut government spending:

Education: 8%

Infrastructure: 34%

Research: 26%

Aid to the poor: 21%

As you may know, the largest items in the federal budget are Medicare, the government health insurance program for seniors, Social Security and the military. Which of the following programs would you be willing to change in order to cut government spending:

Medicare: 21%

Social Security: 13%

Military: 55%

Currently, most Americans receive medicare benefits once they turn 65. But the money Medicare takes in from taxpayers is not enough to pay for the program as it exists now. Which would you prefer: reduce the future benefits of Medicare recipients or raise Medicare taxes on people paying into the system?

Reduce benefits: 24%

Raise taxes: 64%

Which of the following changes to Medicare benefits would you prefer in order to reduce the federal budget deficit:

Raise age: 21%

Raise premiums: 16%

Raise for high-income recipients: 48%

Cover fewer treatments: 9%

Social security: which would you prefer:

Reduce benefits: 25%

Raise taxes: 63%

Social Security: which would you prefer:

Raise age: 18%

Reduce increases: 8%

Reduce benefits for high-income: 66%

Who do you trust more to make the right decisions about reducing the federal budget deficit:

Republicans in Congress: 44%

Barack Obama: 42%

Who do you trust more to make the right decisions about creating jobs:

Republicans in Congress: 44%

Barack Obama: 44%

Do you think Congress should repeal the health care law that was passed in March, or should they let it stand?

Repeal law: 40%

Let stand: 48%

Among those who said "repeal":

Do you think Congress should try to repeal all of the health care law or only certain parts of it?

All of it: 20%

Certain parts of it: 18%

What part of the health care law that was passed last year would you MOST like to see repealed?

Insurance Mandate: 11%

Everything: 8%

Government involvement: 1%

Funding abortions: 1%

Medicare: 1%

DK/NA: 14%

[simply put, only 11% of the public singled out the individual mandate. And, at most, only about 30% of the public wants the individual mandate eliminated.]

What if repealing the law meant that insurance companies were no longer required to cover people with existing medical conditions or prior illnesses:

Should be repealed: 21%

Should not: 14%

[Again, the percent of people who want the law repealed shrinks to 21% if a direct consequence is that preexisting conditions will no longer be covered.]

Here are some other interesting results:

When Sarah Palin talks about the issues of the day, which do you think she is spending more time doing:

Talking about ideas: 29%

Attacking: 57%

When Barack Obama talks about the issues of the day, which do you think he is spending more time doing:

Talking about ideas: 71%

Attacking: 22%

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Can we have an authoritarian socialist health care policy in this country?

The American people say, "yes we CAN!" If only politicians would listen to the voice of the people.

Its my last choice of government but I maintain that you have one or the other. If were going socialist/communist, lets go all the way with it and not some pie in the sky dreamers notion of the "perfect blend".

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How's that?

how can someone make an informed decision without details? ask the average American about what infrastructure is they probably don't even know and if they do they have no idea what kind of condition our infrastructure is in. Also, in many cases there are more options available than the choices given. If one thing has been proven, the average American doesn't even know basic geography much less the details of our political and social issues. So touting out a poll based on the answers of people who have that ignorance is ridiculous.

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how can someone make an informed decision without details? ask the average American about what infrastructure is they probably don't even know and if they do they have no idea what kind of condition our infrastructure is in. Also, in many cases there are more options available than the choices given. If one thing has been proven, the average American doesn't even know basic geography much less the details of our political and social issues. So touting out a poll based on the answers of people who have that ignorance is ridiculous.

Generally, I agree with you about the knowledge of the American people when it comes to politics. In this case, the responses are no less valid than those who claim that "socialism" appropriately describes Obama. If they don't know enough to make simple trade-offs between policy options then they certainly don't understand a complex ideology such as socialism.

However, that said, the poll does provide legitimate insight into the comparative values people have when it comes to policy decisions. Generally, they want less spending instead of higher taxes. But when it comes to big spending items such as social security and medicare, they would rather have tax increases and reductions in services for the upper income than reduction in services for everyone.

And whereas the public disapproved of the health care reform over the summer, now opinion has turned where more people want to let the policy be enacted instead of repealing it immediately.

It's not that people have sophisticated understandings of policy, but they do have relatively defined priorities when it comes to policy spending generally, and those priorities favor higher taxes and reduction in services to upper income over slashing spending on favored programs like social security and medicare.

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Generally, I agree with you about the knowledge of the American people when it comes to politics. In this case, the responses are no less valid than those who claim that "socialism" appropriately describes Obama. If they don't know enough to make simple trade-offs between policy options then they certainly don't understand a complex ideology such as socialism.

However, that said, the poll does provide legitimate insight into the comparative values people have when it comes to policy decisions. Generally, they want less spending instead of higher taxes. But when it comes to big spending items such as social security and medicare, they would rather have tax increases and reductions in services for the upper income than reduction in services for everyone.

And whereas the public disapproved of the health care reform over the summer, now opinion has turned where more people want to let the policy be enacted instead of repealing it immediately.

It's not that people have sophisticated understandings of policy, but they do have relatively defined priorities when it comes to policy spending generally, and those priorities favor higher taxes and reduction in services to upper income over slashing spending on favored programs like social security and medicare.

first of all, the average American still does not really know what is in the healthcare bill. also, I would not attribute the change in the poll to a change in opinion. more like 'out of sight, out of mind'. Americans have a very short attention span and will generally capitulate after a little time has passed

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first of all, the average American still does not really know what is in the healthcare bill. also, I would not attribute the change in the poll to a change in opinion. more like 'out of sight, out of mind'. Americans have a very short attention span and will generally capitulate after a little time has passed

Again, I'm not disagreeing with you in principle. I'm pointing out a larger and more important point.

A change in polling results is by definition a change in opinion IF opinion is understood as people's responses to survey questions. Among those of us who study public opinion for a living, the overwhelming consensus (supported by mounds of research) shows that people do not have "real" opinions in the sense of a position on an issue that they carry around in their heads.

Instead, people tend to formulate their opinions on the spot when asked on a survey. What response they give depends on the mix of considerations floating in their heads as a result of the political environment. IOW, the average person doesn't walk around thinking about Obama's health care package and all the things it contains. If asked whether he supports the plan, he's going to quickly gather up the last few things he's heard and respond on that basis.

Until around November, all of the considerations were negative. The health care package was expensive, it required people to buy insurance, it had "death panels", yadda yadda yadda. Today, that mix of considerations is more positive. Still not overwhelmingly so, but at the very least more neutral than overtly negative to the reform. So the change in support for health care reform is a change in the mixture of pros/cons in the political environment, especially those received by independents and moderates. And, btw, Obama's popularity itself is one of those considerations--people who don't like Obama don't like his policy; people who like Obama like his policy; and people who are neutral toward Obama are neutral toward his policies.

Obama's approval has increased and the overheated rhetoric about "death panels" has calmed down. That means that opposition to the bill was artificial, just as support right now is artificial. The REAL change will come retrospectively...do people look back in a few years and believe the reform worsened things or made things better?

And that's my point about Steve's stupid "55% think Obama is a socialist" stuff. People who don't like Obama will accept negative descriptions of him (like "socialist"). Change their view of Obama and responses to the "socialist" question change as well.

Casting any of these results as THE one definitive absolutely positively "true" statement about the public's evaluation of Obama (or health care reform, in this case) is silly and belies a fundamental ignorance about the dynamics of public opinion.

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I have never supported the banning of anyone....but.....

Atleast snake allowed you to debate his ******** spam.

It's simple, report his post every time he does it explaining very clearly what he is doing and why it should be stopped. If enough people are reporting him them you have to think the moderators will get tired of all the complaints and take some action, if only to stop all of the reports they are receiving.

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Again, I'm not disagreeing with you in principle. I'm pointing out a larger and more important point.

A change in polling results is by definition a change in opinion IF opinion is understood as people's responses to survey questions. Among those of us who study public opinion for a living, the overwhelming consensus (supported by mounds of research) shows that people do not have "real" opinions in the sense of a position on an issue that they carry around in their heads.

Instead, people tend to formulate their opinions on the spot when asked on a survey. What response they give depends on the mix of considerations floating in their heads as a result of the political environment. IOW, the average person doesn't walk around thinking about Obama's health care package and all the things it contains. If asked whether he supports the plan, he's going to quickly gather up the last few things he's heard and respond on that basis.

Until around November, all of the considerations were negative. The health care package was expensive, it required people to buy insurance, it had "death panels", yadda yadda yadda. Today, that mix of considerations is more positive. Still not overwhelmingly so, but at the very least more neutral than overtly negative to the reform. So the change in support for health care reform is a change in the mixture of pros/cons in the political environment, especially those received by independents and moderates. And, btw, Obama's popularity itself is one of those considerations--people who don't like Obama don't like his policy; people who like Obama like his policy; and people who are neutral toward Obama are neutral toward his policies.

Obama's approval has increased and the overheated rhetoric about "death panels" has calmed down. That means that opposition to the bill was artificial, just as support right now is artificial. The REAL change will come retrospectively...do people look back in a few years and believe the reform worsened things or made things better?

And that's my point about Steve's stupid "55% think Obama is a socialist" stuff. People who don't like Obama will accept negative descriptions of him (like "socialist"). Change their view of Obama and responses to the "socialist" question change as well.

Casting any of these results as THE one definitive absolutely positively "true" statement about the public's evaluation of Obama (or health care reform, in this case) is silly and belies a fundamental ignorance about the dynamics of public opinion.

and I still believe that the positive opinion is no more relevant than the negative opinion unless you can show me that the average American can show they have any knowledge of the health care bill.

yes, their opinion is formed on the spot but an opinion that is not supported by knowledge of the subject/facts is worthless

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and I still believe that the positive opinion is no more relevant than the negative opinion unless you can show me that the average American can show they have any knowledge of the health care bill.

yes, their opinion is formed on the spot but an opinion that is not supported by knowledge of the subject/facts is worthless

It's not worthless if that "opinion" is the basis for their voting behavior. On the other hand, it IS worthless if the opinion is the product of non-health care policy relevant considerations like approval for Obama or the state of the economy, which I contend is the case. I agree that things like opposition to health care or what percent think Obama is a "socialist" are meaningless, just for entirely different reasons.

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It's not worthless if that "opinion" is the basis for their voting behavior. On the other hand, it IS worthless if the opinion is the product of non-health care policy relevant considerations like approval for Obama or the state of the economy, which I contend is the case. I agree that things like opposition to health care or what percent think Obama is a "socialist" are meaningless, just for entirely different reasons.

if they are the basis of voting, then by your own reasoning both are relevant and in that way i agree.

what I am referring to is the validity of their opinion or how they come to have it. you are assuming they have become more enlightened because they have changed their mind. I contend that they are just as ignorant as before but have become complacent with their situation and therefore don't think things are as bad as they were

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if they are the basis of voting, then by your own reasoning both are relevant and in that way i agree.

what I am referring to is the validity of their opinion or how they come to have it. you are assuming they have become more enlightened because they have changed their mind. I contend that they are just as ignorant as before but have become complacent with their situation and therefore don't think things are as bad as they were

Actually, you're wrong. On both counts.

Health care is not a significant part of people's voting behavior in 2010 and it won't be a significant part of their behavior in 2012. It's simply irrelevant. The major factor is the economy, specifically, unemployment.

Second, I am NOT saying anyone is more "enlightened because they have changed their mind". My whole point is that the American public is no more enlightened/ignorant today than they were six months ago. If you re-read my post, you'll see that I do not believe that the public has "real" opinions on anything. They merely respond to elite discourse and that an "opinion" is nothing more than a response probability on a survey that is a direct function of the composition of pro/con considerations provided by the political environment. Put simply, the "public" are a bunch of sheep following elite discourse.

And here is the really dark, insidious aspect of my argument...

...the people who are the most "informed" and "engaged" in politics are the biggest sheep. That's right, the people who most closely mirror the democratic ideal of the engaged, informed citizen discussing policy with their fellow citizens are precisely the people who act like partisan sheep, blindly following what their side says and completely ignoring the other side of the argument.

Don't presume to know my beliefs about government and politics, because they run much farther down the rabbit hole then you can ever imagine.

Edited by AcworthFalcFan
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