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Last week, I spotted a headline that said the Obama administration didn’t want to make a Bush-like “Mission Accomplished” statement. I wish I would’ve copied that link because the Obama administration appears to have made their own “Mission Accomplished” statement:

HealthCare.gov team claims victory: ‘We have met the goal’

That’s a self-serving statement if ever I heard one. What goal was met? Was the goal a political goal? If yes, was it also a policy goal? More importantly, who set that goal? Most importantly, is it a goal that the American people are satisfied with?

Based on this document, I suspect that the answer to that last question will be an emphatic no:


The most telling statement is on the last page:

As the metrics detailed in this report reveal, dramatic progress has been made on improving HealthCare.gov. There is more work to be done to continue to improve and enhance the website and continue to improve the consumer experience in the weeks and months ahead. The new management system and instrumentation have helped improve site stability, lower the error rating below 1%, increase capacity to allow 50,000 concurrent users to simultaneously use the site and will help drive continuous improvement on the site. While we strive to innovate and improve our outreach and systems for reaching consumers, we believe we have met the goal of having a system that will work smoothly for the vast majority of users.

This sentence says everything about what a mess HealthCare.gov is:

There is more work to be done to continue to improve and enhance the website and continue to improve the consumer experience in the weeks and months ahead.

In other words, HealthCare.gov has improved but it’s still a gigantic mess. That isn’t what patients who’ve lost their insurance want to hear. Again, we return to question whose goals were met.

Having the administration say that HealthCare.gov has significantly improved in the first sentence, then admitting there’s months of of work still ahead on the last page of a document, won’t build the American people’s confidence.

This morning on Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume talked about visiting HealthCare.gov in Virginia where he lives. He said that there weren’t any platinum plans available through HealthCare.gov, though he later said that there was a platinum plan available through e-Surance.com. Mr. Hume later noted that HealthCare.gov was nothing like the experience one expects from Amazon.com or other similar sites. Mr. Hume finished by declaring that “this website is still a mess.”

The Obama administration might be satisfied with the progress made on HealthCare.gov but they don’t get to cast the deciding vote on what’s successful. The American people cast that vote and, based on recent polling, they aren’t impressed.

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This CNN/ORC polling contains some disturbing news for the Obama administration, starting with this:

Inspires confidence
November 18-20, 2013 44% applies, 56% doesn’t apply

According to the report, that’s a huge drop. In 2010 and 2011, 57-58% of people said that President Obama inspired confidence. That’s a 25% drop. The bad news doesn’t stop there:

Thinking about the following characteristics and qualities, please say whether you think it applies or doesn’t apply to Barack Obama.

Is honest and trustworthy
November 18-20, 2013 46% applies, 53% doesn’t apply

As recently as May, 2013, 58% said that President Obama was honest and trustworthy. That’s a 20% drop in 6 months. As a result, people aren’t giving President Obama the benefit of the doubt anymore. That’s why President Obama’s worst days still haven’t arrived. Another ‘casualty’ of President Obama’s drop on the trust issue is that it’ll hurt Democrats in the generic ballot polling.

Michael Barone notes that President Obama defeated Mitt Romney in 209 districts across America. There’s no way of knowing how many of those districts would still vote for President Obama if they got a do-over. In a recent poll, Mitt Romney would defeat President Obama by a 49-45% margin. It’s reasonable to think that some of those 209 congressional districts would flip in a do-over race.

The effects of this polling is spilling over into other things:

Democratic leaders claim the bungled launch of Obamacare is just the latest news sensation, a media-stirred tempest that looks in the heat of the moment like it could upend the midterm election, but ends up fizzling well before voters head to the polls.

Some party strategists say they’re in denial.

And that perceived gap between party spin and facts on the ground is fueling worries that the White House and Democratic higher-ups aren’t taking the possible electoral blowback seriously enough or doing enough to shield their candidates. Democratic contenders in the toughest races are distinctly less convinced that Obamacare will fade as an election-year issue and they can’t afford to just cross their fingers that things get ironed out or that Republicans revert to political hara-kiri.

Democratic strategists don’t need to worry about the party doing more to help Democrats. They’re inextricably tied to the Affordable Care Act. The American people won’t distinguish between Democrats who didn’t defend the Affordable Care Act and Democrats who stuck to the party line. They won’t make that fine of a distinction.

It’s too early to predict a wave election. It isn’t too early to notice that the electorate is mad as hell. That isn’t good news for President Obama.

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Last night on Special Report’s Roundtable, George Will was asked what to make of the various delaying bills in Congress. The case Mr. Will made was short and to the point. Here’s the video from Mr. Will’s opening response:

The thing I most appreciate about Mr. Will is that he makes salient points quickly. Here’s the partial transcript of Mr. Will’s succinct statement:

GEORGE WILL: It’s the mathematics of small numbers as far as any enrollment is concerned. Well, it’s not working. The exchanges themselves and the website aren’t working and neither is the explanation of both failures. The problem is we have no experience rolling out things like this, at least for about 200 years of our history. When we rolled out, if that’s what you want to call it, Social Security, it was a simple thing. Reach a certain age, we’ll mail you a check. They know how to write checks, they know how to mail them out. This is a complicated system in which when you change something, something else changes and all of the whole structure of incentives goes sideways.

I think the blazing insight I’ve had from this is that there’s no need to repeal Obamacare. If you pass a bill that the Republicans I think are going to want to pass, saying if you can buy insurance policy X before the 1st of October you can still buy it and if you were selling it before then, you can still sell it, that’s all you need to do. After that, Obamacare disappears.

Another thing that Mr. Will is noted for is his ability to measure his words. He isn’t given to making emotion-based predictions. The reason why that’s important was because Bret Baier asked Mr. Will what he thought the chances were of one of the delaying bills getting passing, then making it onto President Obama’s desk. Will said the outcome is based on whether Democrats decide they’re willing to go down with the ship or whether they abandon President Obama in an attempt to salvage their careers.

That answer isn’t knowable at this point. Suffice it to say that the possibility of Democrats panicking significantly goes up with each poll that shows President Obama’s approval sinking. Polls like this one will definitely get their attention:

Do you approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing on this issue?
Health care 36% approve, 61% disapprove

a month ago, the Fox News poll approval/disapproval ratings for President Obama on health care was 45% approved, 51% disapproved. That’s a 10 point drop in a month. Let’s remember that Kay Hagan was thought to be one of the least vulnerable senators facing re-election in 2014. This High Point University poll has surely gotten Sen. Hagan’s attention:

HIGH POINT — The latest High Point University Poll offers an alarming set of numbers for first-term Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan as she prepares to run for re-election next year. Hagan, who’s from Greensboro, has a job approval rating of 32 percent, according to the poll. In addition, most North Carolinians surveyed, 56 percent, say it is time to elect someone else rather than re-elect Hagan. The HPU Poll finds 19 percent of those surveyed say they believe Hagan should be re-elected, with 26 percent expressing no opinion.

If that race represents the best opportunity for Democrats to hold onto a red state Senate seat, Republicans will control the gavels in 2015.

I think Mr. Will is onto something. I think Democrats have sufficient justification for panicking over the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. While I’m not predicting a wave election at this point, the next 2-3 months will determine whether there is another GOP wave election building.

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For most of the life of this blog, I’ve advocated for politicians to ditch their jargon. Instead, I’ve argued that politicians should use the language of Main Street. This morning, while perusing RealClealPolitics, I gained a powerful ally in Scott Rasmussen. To avoid any confusion, I’ll first state that I met Scott Rasmussen last summer at the RightOnline Conference. That meeting, coupled with his many TV appearances, proved that he’s a man who uses Main Street Speak.

Here’s what Scott Rasmussen wrote that caught my attention:

This gap was highlighted by a recent Pew Research Center poll showing that “for 18 of 19 programs tested, majorities want either to increase spending or maintain it at current levels.”

On the surface, those results appear to support the Political Class conceit that voters like spending cuts in the abstract but not in specific programs. That’s the way it was reported by most media outlets.

But the reality is quite different. The Pew results actually show support for what official Washington would consider massive spending cuts.

Just to be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Pew poll questions or results. The raw numbers are similar to what we find at Rasmussen Reports. The problem is with the way the numbers were reported.

The questions were asked using the language of America, but they were reported using the language of the Political Class.

To most Americans, maintaining spending at current levels would mean spending the same amount in 2013 as we spent in 2012. However, to those experienced in the mysterious ways of Washington, maintaining spending at current levels means spending $3.5 trillion this year and $4.5 trillion in five years. To most Americans, that’s a trillion dollars in spending growth.

The Political Class, on the other hand, would consider holding spending unchanged at current levels to be a massive spending cut. Why? Because it wouldn’t allow for the trillion dollar spending growth that is already built into the budget.

Normal people don’t expect pay raises on autopilot. The federal government does.

Washington, DC would throw a hissy fit if they were forced to use zero-based budgeting instead of using baseline budgeting. Without baseline budgeting helps DC pay off their political allies. Zero-based budgeting wouldn’t let that happen. That’s why politicians and lobbyists insist on baseline budgeting. Frankly, it makes their jobs easier.

Speaking candidly, I don’t want to make life easy for politicians or lobbyists. I’d prefer they have to justify every penny of their spending. That’s the only way to guarantee that every penny of the taxpayers’ money is spent wisely.

Thanks, Scott, for speaking so clearly on this important issue. Let’s just hope it’s contageous.

It’s important to not accept a poll’s horserace numbers as Gospel fact. This poll is fatally flawed but it’s quite fixable. Here’s the horserace number:

Romney/Ryan, leaners: 49%
Obama/Biden, leaners: 49%

If people just read the horserace number, they’d think this race was a tie. They’d be wrong. This CNN poll has a D/R/I index of 41/30/29. In 2008, a year that was a tidal wave election, Democrats represented 39% of the electorate while Republicans represented 32% of the electorate. That means this poll vastly oversampled Democrats. Gallup recently did a poll of who would vote in this year’s election. Here’s what it said:

Independents 38%, Democrats 32%, Republicans 30%.

According to the CNN poll’s internals, Gov. Romney is getting 99% of the Republicans’ vote, 59% of the independents’ vote and 5% of the Democrats’ votes. Now let’s plug those numbers into my votes per hundred method. If Romney is getting 99% of the Republicans’ votes and Republicans represent 30% of all likely voters, that means he’ll get 29.7 votes per hundred from Republicans. If Mitt gets 59% of independents’ votes and they represent 38 voters per 100, that means Mitt would get 22.42 votes per hundred from independents. If Mitt gets 5% of the Democrats’ votes and they represent 32 voters per 100, that means he’ll get an additional 1.6 votes for a grand total of 53.72 votes per 100 for Mitt.

I don’t believe, however, that Mitt’s getting 99% of the Republicans’ votes. I don’t buy that President Obama is getting 95% of the Democrats’ vote. I think Mitt’s getting 85-90% of the Republicans’ votes. Likewise, I think President Obama is getting 85-90% of the Democrats’ votes. That changes the numbers to Mitt getting 25.5 votes per 100 of Republicans’ votes and 4.8 votes per 100 from Democrats. The independents’ number would stay the same. That means Mitt would get 52.72 votes per 100.

Far from being tied, this poll actually shows Mitt with a dominant 52.7%-47.3% lead. I’m betting that’s a ‘tie’ Mitt Romney would embrace tomorrow night.

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This evening, I watched Paul Gigot interview GOP pollster Whit Ayres. His polling company, Resurgent Republic, shows Mitt Romney winning independents by a 51%-39% margin. Ayres then said “If anyone says they know who’s going to win, they’re either lying or they don’t know what they’re talking about.”

I’d love to hear Mr. Ayres tell Michael Barone that Michael Barone doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Duane Patterson of the Hugh Hewitt radio show wrote this post about the latest Marist Poll that captures what I was thinking after the Ayres interview:

So in order to believe the Marist poll, that Obama is up over the margin of error, you have to believe that the intensity level for Obama by party ID is higher now than it was in 2008. You have to believe that the swing from 2008 to 2010, where party ID went from D+8 to R+1, resulting in the election of a Republican governor, a Republican Senator, and control of the state house, all that has not only vanished, but recoiled even further in Obama’s direction.

You have to believe that the crowd of 80,000 Obama drew in 2008 in Cleveland the closing days of the campaign demonstrates less energy and passion for their candidate than the 4,000 did this morning. You have to believe that the 30,000 people last night at the Romney/Ryan rally shows less enthusiasm for their candidate than the 4,200 did in 2008 for John McCain.

You have to believe that Michael Barone, a man who you can introduce yourself to and tell him where you’re from, and he’ll tell you who won your Congressional district in 1966 from memory, is wrong when he reads that Cuyahoga County, long a Democratic stronghold in the Buckeye State, is way off in party registration. He’s also wrong when reports for early voting tend to favor Mitt Romney, and favor him big.

You also have to believe that Ohio Catholics and values voters don’t care about the HHS regulations. You also have to believe that Ohio, an energy state, doesn’t care about energy production.

Thanks, Duane, for that great explanation. God knows there aren’t enough conservatives who consistently display that high level of communication ability.

Day after day, polls have consistently shown 2 things: Mitt Romney leading with independents and a terrific pro-GOP enthusiasm gap. Now I’m supposed to believe that Mitt’s lead is either nonexistent or is exceptionally and historically thin and that the enthusiasm gap isn’t affecting polling results.

With all due respect to Mr. Ayres, that’s a bunch of malarkey. The crowds show it. Michael Barone recognizes it. Tuesday night will prove it.

Something’s gotta give. It’s impossible for Mitt Romney to be locked in a Florida 2000-like battle when he’s getting 90% of Republican voters, President Obama is getting 90% of Democratic voters and Mitt’s trouncing President Obama with independents by 12 points.

There’s only one way for President Obama to win with that type of situation, That’s if he’s getting better turnout of Democrats than he got in 2008. All of those indicators show that that isn’t happening.

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Dan McLaughlin’s post summarizes in statistical form why Mitt is likely to be the next president of the United States. These paragraphs sum things up nicely:

Everything in the latest polls suggests doom for Obama with independents. This morning’s Washington Post poll has him down 20 with independents, 58-38. The Rasmussen national tracker has him down 17 today. Today’s IBD/TIPP poll has him down 10, 48-38. SurveyUSA/Monmouth has him trailing by 19, 52-33. The outlier, SEIU/DailyKos pollster PPP, had Romney up 2 yesterday with independents, 47-45, after the PPP tracker showed him up 10, 51-41, three days earlier. In this morning’s swing state poll, Rasmussen shows Romney leading Obama by 11 with independents.

In Ohio, ARG has Obama down 20 with independents, 57-37, SurveyUSA has him down 8, 47-39; TIME has him down 15, 53-38; PPP has him down 7, 49-42; CBS/Quinnipiac has him down 7, 49-42; Gravis has him down 19, 52-33.

This explains why media organizations (notice that I didn’t call them news organizations) have vastly oversampled Democrats in their attempt to make it look like President Obama is leading. If these media organizations used statistically accurate registration models, their polls wouldn’t have shown President Obama leading nationally.

Most private polling companies figure Ohio as a D+2 state at most. Many of the media organizations’ polls are D+7-8 models. That rivals the PVI of 2008. Serious people know that President Obama doesn’t enjoy that type of PVI rating this year. It isn’t even close.

To make sense of the various polls, I’ve started looking beneath the horserace numbers. Based on Mr. McLaughlin’s methodology, it looks like I was right. What I’ve done is start looking at polls via a votes per 100 voters model. That’s what I did with this post.

Chip’s district is a D+2 or D+3 district. The KSTP-SurveyUSA poll is based on a D+7 model. Chip gets 89% of Republicans, 6% of DFLers and 53% of independents.

The proper weighting of the district is 35% DFL, 34% GOP, 31% independent. That means Chip gets 30.2 votes from Republicans, 2.1 votes from DFL voters and 16.5 votes from independents for every 100 voters. That’s 48.8 votes per hundred for Chip.

Adapting that methodology to Ohio, that means Republicans and Democrats (more or less) cancel each other out. That means independents will determine the winner. With Mitt winning independents by double-digit margins, there’s no reason to think he won’t win Ohio. President Obama certainly won’t have the type of turnout that he had in 2008 so he won’t be able to offset Mitt’s advantage with independents.

Here’s Mr. McLaughlin’s analysis of the race:

The waterfront of analyzing all the factors that go into my conclusion here is too large to cover in one post, but the signs of Obama’s defeat are too clear now to ignore. Given all the available information, Romney’s lead among independents, the outlier nature of the 2008 turnout model, the elections held since 2008, the party ID surveys, the voter registration, early voting and absentee ballot data, I have to conclude that there is no remaining path at this late date for Obama to win the national popular vote. He is toast.

The same things that are artificially propping up President Obama nationwide are artificially propping President Obama up in Ohio. President Obama’s message sounds more like the rantings of a spoiled brat throwing a temper tantrum than the words of the President of the United States.

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Six days ago, KSTP announced that Michele Bachmann led her opponent by 9 points:

In an election today for the U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, high-profile incumbent Republican congresswoman Michele Bachmann is re-elected, defeating DFL challenger Jim Graves 50% to 41%, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted for KSTP-TV in the Twin Cities.

This morning, the Star Tribune’s poll shows Michele Bachmann leading by 6 points:

Bachmann, who is waging one of the most expensive House campaigns in the nation against a political newcomer, is favored by 51 percent of likely voters in Minnesota’s sprawling Sixth Congressional District, which stretches from west of St. Cloud into Woodbury. Another 45 percent would choose Graves, a St. Cloud native and owner of Graves Hospitality Corp., an expansive hotel chain. Four percent of voters are undecided.

It’d be foolish to say that this race is over. It isn’t foolish to say that Michele’s opponent is facing an increasingly uphill fight, though.

Michele is getting over the magical 50% mark, which definitely puts a smile on Michele’s campaign manager’s face. It doesn’t mean Chase Kroll’s life is all peaches and cream. It just means his client’s is in a positive position.

With closing arguments starting, and with Michele’s lead solidifying, it’ll be difficult for Michele’s opponent to get the traction he’d need to mount an effective rally.

This information is welcome news for Michele’s campaign:

The Graves campaign has been hitting Bachmann on economic issues, including the recent shutdown at the Verso Paper Corp. mill in Sartell, and working to cast Graves as the pro-business candidate in the race. But when asked which candidate would be more effective at working to improve the economy and create jobs in the district, 49 percent of poll respondents named Bachmann, 43 percent picked Graves and 7 percent were undecided.

This was supposed to be the logic behind Graves’ campaign. Instead, Michele’s viewed as the better choice for business. That’s probably because she’s vowed to work on fixing everything that’s fatally flawed with Dodd-Frank but it’s mostly because Michele’s promising to repeal the AHCA.

The strategy could resonate in a district where 55 percent of voters have said they wanted to see the Affordable Health Care Act repealed and only 38 percent want to keep it in place.

In short, Michele’s positioned herself well for her district. Her opponent, on the other hand, isn’t saying what he’s for. That’s why it’s impossible to tell whether he’s positioned himself well on the issue in the Sixth District.

With a little more than 2 weeks left in the campaign, Michele’s in a solid position. Defeating isn’t impossible, though it’d take an act of God to defeat her.

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This morning, the Romney-Ryan ticket got great news. Scott Rasmussen’s polling in Florida must have President Obama worried:

Mitt Romney has crossed the 50% mark for the first time to widen his lead to four points in Florida. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Florida Voters finds Romney with 51% support to President Obama’s 47%. Two percent (2%) remain undecided.

That’s terrible news for the Obama campaign but it isn’t the only polling difficulty he’s experiencing. Reliable polling in Virginia indicates a major shift away from President Obama:

According to a McLaughlin & Associates poll that had an R+.02 sample, Romney leads Obama in Virginia 51%-44%. Among independents, Romney beats Obama by 11 points, 50%-39%.

If these leads stabilize over the next week, that will give the Romney campaign time to shift focus to a new set of states to compete in. By doing that, they’ll force President Obama to defend more states with a limited amount of cash on hand. If President Obama is forced to defend more states than first anticipated, that might spell disaster for the Obama administration.

The last spate of polls shows Mitt Romney opening up significant leads with independents. If that trend continues, it wouldn’t be a stretch to predict President Obama being on the defensive the rest of the way. That’s why it isn’t unreasonable to think Mitt could successfully compete in states like Michigan and New Jersey.

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After it’s properly weighted, this KSTP-SurveyUSA poll shows Chip Cravaack leading Rick Nolan. Forget about the horserace tally because it’s dramatically overtilted to the Democrats.

First, this KSTP-SurveyUSA poll oversamples Democrats by a 7-point margin. That can’t be justified, especially considering the fact that the Cook Report listed MN-8 as a D+3 district in 2010. Chip’s won over more Iron Rangers, meaning the Cook Report’s PVI rating is more like D+2 this year.

Second, Chip gets 89% of MN-8 Republicans, 6% of MN-8 DFLers and 53% of MN-8 independents.

Third, the proper weighting of the district is 35% DFL, 34% GOP, 31% independent. That means Chip gets 30.2 votes from Republicans, 2.1 votes from DFL voters and 16.5 votes from independents for every 100 voters. That’s 48.8 votes per hundred for Chip. That’s assuming there isn’t an enthusiasm gap, which there is. That enthusiasm gap favors Chip by a pretty solid margin.

Fourth, Rick Nolan gets 7% of Republican votes, 87% of DFL voters and a pathetic 36% of independents. That means Nolan gets 2.4 votes from the GOP, 30.5 votes from the DFL and 11.2 votes from independents per 100 votes. That’s a total of 44.1 votes per 100 for Nolan.

After factoring the enthusiasm gap that favors Chip, this race isn’t as close as the horserace figures indicate. This race is still competitive. Still, this snapshot must have Chip’s campaign smiling.

The other thing that’s sure to have Chip’s campaign smiling are his fundraising totals:

(North Branch) – Today, the Cravaack for Congress campaign reports that $471,183 was raised for the third quarter (July-September). This election cycle, Cravaack has raised $1,929,176, with $1,131,433 cash on hand as of September 30.

Chip’s GOTV operation, combined with this significant fundraising advantage and a significant enthusiasm gap, means Mr. Nolan is facing an uphill fight down the home stretch.

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