HUFFPOLLSTER: Most Want Congress To Fix Potential Obamacare Gap

The Capitol in Washington is seen just before dawn as freezing temperatures and snow delay government agencies from opening o
The Capitol in Washington is seen just before dawn as freezing temperatures and snow delay government agencies from opening on time, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. Last night, Democrats temporarily stalled progress on a bill to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, the top priority of the Republican-controlled Congress, as they blocked an attempt by GOP leaders to wind down debate. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Should the Supreme Court strike down ACA subsidies in federal marketplaces, most would have Congress act to restore them. Current polls are likely overstating Hillary Clinton's eventual general election performance. And house effects in 2014 polls were more complicated than you might guess. This is HuffPollster for Wednesday, January 28, 2015.

MOST THINK CONGRESS SHOULD CLOSE POTENTIAL ACA GAP - Kaiser Family Foundation: "Though few Americans are paying attention to the pending Supreme Court case over whether the health care law says that people in all states can get financial help to buy health insurance, most say they would want Congress and their state to act to fix potential gaps should the Supreme Court rule in favor of the plaintiffs, the January Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds….[N]early two thirds of the public (64%) say Congress should pass a law making subsidies available in all states….In addition, a majority (59%) of residents in the healthcare.gov states say they would want their state to act to operate its own exchange if the Supreme Court limits the financial assistance to eligible residents in states with state-run exchanges. This view prevails among majorities of Democrats (61%), independents (63%) and Republicans (51%) across the potentially affected states. In comparison, 29 percent of residents in these states, including 34 percent of Republicans, would oppose such a step." [KFF]


WHY POLLS OVERSTATE CLINTON'S GENERAL ELECTION LEAD - Brendan Nyhan: "Public service announcement: For now, you should ignore surveys testing potential Democrat/Republican matchups for the 2016 presidential election. I’m referring to polls like The Washington Post-ABC News survey released last week, which made headlines with the finding that Hillary Clinton enjoys a big lead against Republicans like Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney....Mrs. Clinton’s giant lead wouldn’t hold up in an actual election contest. Her public standing has been artificially inflated by her tenure as secretary of state, which largely removed her from the partisan fray. A campaign would remind many Americans why they used to have unfavorable views of her. The winner of the Republican nomination will gain in stature and consolidate the support of the party in the first part of next year — the reason that the performance of G.O.P. candidates against Mrs. Clinton right now is not especially instructive in analyzing their prospective appeal. (At this point in January 2011, for instance, a McClatchy/Marist poll found President Obama leading Mitt Romney, 51 percent to 38 percent, but Mr. Romney ultimately attracted 47 percent of the vote and narrowly lost the race.) Moreover, despite Mr. Obama’s recent uptick in approval, approximately half of all Americans disapprove of his performance in office. While the growing economy is likely to continue to improve his standing and strengthen the prospects for a Democratic successor, any competent Republican would be expected to outperform the 39-41 percent mustered by G.O.P. candidates in The Post’s polls." [NYT]

-SurveyMonkey's Jon Cohn: "nice piece, tho 'early inaccuracy' is misleading- early polls may lack predictive power, but that doesn't make them inaccurate" [@jcpolls]

-Nyhan replies: "Thanks. I think I'm careful to say I'm considering as predictor of final vote share. No claim re accuracy vs "true" early opinion" [@BrendanNyhan]

AMERICANS DON'T SEE PERSONAL BENEFIT FROM EITHER PARTY'S ECONOMIC PROPOSALS - HuffPollster: "The economic vision President Barack Obama laid out in last Tuesday's State of the Union has widespread appeal, as do many of his key policy proposals -- but many Americans still see that agenda as unlikely to help them on a personal level…[J]ust 31 percent of Americans said raising the minimum wage would directly help them or their family. Another 21 percent said it would directly hurt them, while 49 percent weren't sure, or said it would have no direct impact…[J]ust 31 percent of Americans said they'd see a direct and positive impact from funding for childcare, while 22 percent said they'd see a positive impact from a law to ensure equal pay for women. Fewer than a quarter predicted that they'd be negatively affected by any of those ideas, either -- the predominant response was apathy...The challenge isn't unique to Democratic policies. GOP priorities like reducing the federal debt and scaling back business regulations are also seen as personally helpful by fewer than a third of Americans, and are perceived as hurtful by nearly as many... The quandary, however, is perhaps especially pronounced for Democrats. The least financially stable Americans, who are most likely both to support a social safety net and to rely on it, are also the least likely to turn out in elections or generally to be involved in politics...[J]ust 32 percent of Americans said Democrats' economic policies are more likely to directly help them and their family, while 27 percent said the Republicans' policies are. Forty percent said neither would, or weren't sure."

HOUSE EFFECTS IN 2014 POLLS: PARTISAN PATTERN MAY MISLEAD - Natalie Jackson: "When it comes to predicting elections, pollsters are often judged on whether their results seem to consistently favor one party over another. The industry shorthand for this is 'house effects.' In a series of articles, HuffPost Pollster will dig into the factors that push poll results in a partisan direction…[P]ublicly released polls with partisan sponsors are more likely to overstate support for their side. Because Republican pollsters' findings were closer to the actual election results in 2014, people might infer that those pollsters were generally less partisan. In fact, the historic pattern of Republican pollsters leaning toward the GOP, the Democratic pollsters leaning the other way and the nonpartisan pollsters ending up in the middle continued last year. What changed is that all polls underestimated how well GOP candidates would do -- even the Republican pollsters consistently underpredicted their vote totals. We don't know exactly why this happened, but possible explanations include the possibility that the polls overestimated turnout among Democrats or that voters shifted significantly toward the GOP in the days right before the election... In the coming weeks, we’ll discuss what we can learn about house effects by grouping pollsters based on how they collect data, investigate how the number of polls and the races polled affect house effects, and consider how we can use house effects to get what we really want -- a measure of pollster quality. [HuffPost]

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WEDNESDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-The Conference Board's shows consumer confidence increasing sharply in December. [Conference Board]

-Philip Bump attributes rising economic confidence to falling gas prices. [WashPost]

-Most Virginia voters think Bob McDonnell's prison sentence is fair. [CNU]

-69 percent of Americans reject the argument that "Hollywood has a general problem with minorities." [Examiner, Ipsos]

-Mark Mellman (D) ponders why young Americans don't pay attention to news about politics and public affairs. [The Hill]

-Harry Enten and Eric Holthaus explain how meteorologists misjudged the blizzard. @ForecasterEnten, Slate]

-People keep sticking their hands in snowblowers without turning them off first. [WashPost]

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