Friday, September 11, 2009

The Big "Mo" for Health Reform?

Did the President's health care speech have an effect?  There are to places to watch - the Rasmussen and the Gallup daily tracking polls. Each is updated by 1PM and today will mark the first day to include polling done after the speech (each poll is a three day rolling average, so today will include 2 days pre-speech and 1 day post speech). Sunday's update will be the first to show 3 days of post speech polling. Pre speech the President was at 51% in Gallup and 48% in Rasmussen. Expect a bump - an almost immediate increase to the 55% range should occur by Sunday. The majesty of a joint address to Congress cannot help but provide a bump. The question is - will it last? Bill Clinton enjoyed a health boost after addressing Congress on health reform in September of 1993 - but it faded within 2 weeks as the "details" of the reform took center stage. Which may be why the White House is hesitant to release details of the President's plan. Democrats are promising that legislation will come by year's end and many commentators are saying that Obama will get reform simply because of the majorities enjoyed by Democrats in the House and Senate - well, we heard that in 1993/94 when they had nearly identical majorities in the House and Senate. There's a reason that comprehensive health reform has been on the agenda for 65 year - because it is nearly impossible to find consensus on the proper reforms. In the House, Nancy Pelosi can only afford to lose 40 votes (assuming no Republicans support the bill). Already about 50 Blue Dog Democrats have said that they will not approve a bill with a public option and better than 100 progressive Democrats have said they will opposed a bill without a public option - who wins that game of chicken? We shall see what happens this time.

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