Thursday, February 11, 2010

Voters mad about something

The trouble with polls is they lump everyone's individual opinion into clumps and ascribe the results as indicative of what all Americans think.

But whenever I read a news story about poll results, I remember what my first wife told me: Opinions are like assholes, everybody has got one.

That's why when I heard Charlie Rose and David Brooks, the New York Times columnist, agree the other day that the Obama administration didn't seem to fathom the angry wind sweeping the country over health-care reform and deficit spending, I shouted at my television that the pair's conclusion was wrong, wrong, wrong. I had seen no polls to support the breadth of the anger with government.

Now I have. The Washington Post reported today that their Post-ABC News poll of 1,004 randomly selected adults taken from Feb. 4-8, showed two-thirds of Americans were dissatisfied or outright angry at the way Washington works nowadays, one year after Barack Obama's inauguration. The headline over the Denver Post's story read: "Poll: Americans unhappy with government's tack." And the implication, amidst all the newstalk of the so-called "Tea Party movement," was that most of the anger being generated is a result of Obama's attempts to reform health care.

I submit much of the anger is also generated as a result of Obama's and Congress's failure to reform health care in America.

In fact, the Washington Post poll found more of those polled viewed "Tea Party" views unfavorably (40 percent) than those polled who found those views favorable (35 percent), and a full quarter of those polled (25 percent) offered no opinion at all when asked that question.

Which means the angry "wind" Rose and Brooks were describing Monday night is mostly huff and puff. Brooks noted that the president's personal popularity still out scores any dissatisfaction with his policies, and the Washington Post admits in its story that what "Tea Party" advocates advocate is almost unfathomable because the "movement" is so disorganized and disparate.

So come November, if the winds keep on a blowin', incumbents of every stripe are going to be at risk of voters' wrath. The American people want to see results out of Washington; not bipartisan incompatibility.

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