There's A Major Intensity Gap On The GOP's New Health Bill

Americans are more than four times likelier to strongly oppose the bill than to strongly support it.
U.S. Capitol is seen after the House approved a bill to repeal major parts of Obamacare and replace it with a Republican healthcare plan in Washington, U.S., May 4, 2017.
U.S. Capitol is seen after the House approved a bill to repeal major parts of Obamacare and replace it with a Republican healthcare plan in Washington, U.S., May 4, 2017.
Yuri Gripas / Reuters

Trump voters see the new version of AHCA as an improvement, but few others agree. The debate over 2016 continues. And pollsters called the French presidential election correctly, but missed on the margin. This is HuffPollster for Tuesday, May 9, 2017.

REPUBLICANS’ NEW HEALTH BILL IS UNPOPULAR WITH THE PUBLIC - HuffPollster: “Less than a third of the public favors the new Republican health care bill just passed by the House of Representatives, a HuffPost/YouGov survey finds. Thirty-one percent of Americans favor the American Health Care Act, which narrowly passed the Republican-controlled House last Thursday. Forty-four percent oppose the bill, which would repeal much of the current health care law. Another 25 percent are unsure. As was the case during the GOP’s failed attempt to pass the bill in March, Americans are more likely to be intensely opposed than even modestly supportive. Just 8 percent say they favor the bill strongly, with 34 percent strongly opposed. Americans say, 39 percent to 26 percent, that the AHCA would likely be worse, not better, than the current health care law.” [HuffPost]

But it consolidates Trump voters’ support - More: “Trump voters have now coalesced around the bill in a way they failed to do earlier this spring. The first version of the AHCA faced loud, public opposition from some Republican factions. The fact wasn’t lost on most of the public, just 11 percent of whom said they believed congressional Republicans were united in support of the bill. That lack of partisan unity may have helped to depress support among Trump voters, just half of whom said they favored the bill in March. With the latest version of the AHCA passing the House, there’s now something closer to an official GOP party line on the bill ― and Trump voters have largely taken the cue. Seventy-five percent now favor the bill at least somewhat, with just 9 percent opposed.

Current ratings for the ACA: An average 48 percent of the public favors the current health care law, with 42 percent opposed, according to HuffPost Pollster’s aggregate. Ratings for the law have been positive since last year’s election. [Pollster chart]

EDUCATION WAS A BIG FACTOR IN HOW PEOPLE VOTED IN 2016 ― WHICH MAY HAVE HURT SOME STATE POLLING - HuffPollster: “Voters’ level of education closely tracked with the candidate they backed in key states in the 2016 election, but state-level polling failed to place enough emphasis on education to accurately reflect that, according to a new report. While voters with a college degree were more likely to support Hillary Clinton, those who didn’t attend college tended to back Donald Trump. National-level polls predicted Clinton would win the popular vote by 3 percentage points, when she actually won it by 2 ― so those were fairly accurate. But polls were way off the mark in key states such as Michigan (6 points off), Wisconsin (7 points) and Pennsylvania (5 points) ― and Trump’s victories there helped him gain the Electoral College votes necessary to become president. State-level polling didn’t survey enough voters without a college education ― which may be a big reason they overestimated Clinton’s support, a topic discussed in the report issued Thursday by the American Association for Public Opinion Research on what went wrong in 2016. The report found many state-level pollsters weren’t accounting for the fact that those with college degrees are significantly more likely to take surveys. While pollsters weight their survey responses to reflect a representative balance of people based on demographics such as age, gender, race and political party, not all weight them based on education.” [HuffPost]

STUDY: “CULTURAL ANXIETY” DROVE WHITE WORKING-CLASS VOTERS TO TRUMP - Emma Green on a new PRRI/The Atlantic report: “Evidence suggests financially troubled voters in the white working class actually preferred Clinton over Trump. Besides partisan affiliation, it was cultural anxiety—feeling like a stranger in America, supporting the deportation of immigrants, and hesitating about educational investment—that best predicted support for Trump.….Controlling for other demographic variables, three factors stood out as strong independent predictors of how white working-class people would vote. The first was anxiety about cultural change….The second factor was immigration….Finally, 54 percent of white working-class Americans said investing in college education is a risky gamble, including 61 percent of white working-class men. White working-class voters who held this belief were almost twice as likely as their peers to support Trump….While the analysis pointed to some interesting patterns around economic status, more research is needed to confirm them.” [The Atlantic, more from PRRI]

WAS THERE A ‘COMEY EFFECT’ IN 2016? - Nate Cohn argues there’s reason to be skeptical: “[I]t’s now clear that Mrs. Clinton was weaker heading into Oct. 28 than was understood at the time. Several other polls were conducted over the same period that showed Mr. Trump gaining quickly on Mrs. Clinton in the days ahead of the Comey letter. And the timing of these polls — particularly the gap between when they were taken and when they were released — has probably helped to exaggerate the effect of Mr. Comey’s letter on the presidential race….[P]olls taken before the letter were as bad for Mrs. Clinton as those conducted after it….taken at face value there’s a case that Mrs. Clinton had nearly or even completely bottomed out by the time the Comey letter was released. Even if she had not, the trend line heading into the Comey letter was bad enough that there’s no need to assume that the Comey letter was necessary for any additional erosion in her lead….This doesn’t mean that Mr. Comey didn’t or couldn’t have played a pivotal role. The fairly sparse polling makes it hard to be sure of just how much Mrs. Clinton’s standing fell before the Comey letter.” [NYT]

Nate Silver disagrees - Silver, via Twitter: “This is a good, interesting point but isn’t large enough to mitigate the Comey effect. Nate C. is right to point out that there’s a lag between when polls are conducted and when they become publicly available. FiveThirtyEight’s model at 12:01 am on Oct. 28 (Comey letter day), based on *available* polls, had Clinton up 5.9 points. What if we run the model with all polls that had been *conducted* before Comey even if they hadn’t been released? Clinton up 5.2 instead. In other words, accounting for poll timing reduces the Comey effect by 0.7 points. But that would leave you with a 2 or 2.5-point effect…and Clinton lost the tipping-point state, Wisconsin, by only 0.8 points. People seem to forget how narrow Trump’s victory was.” [@NateSilver538]

Pollsters see “mixed” evidence - An American Association for Public Opinion Research report released last week: “[G]iven the volume of claims that the FBI announcement of October 28th tipped the race in Trump’s favor, we felt it worthwhile to investigate whether there was support for that claim in the public polls….While [Clinton’s lead] was eroding before October 28th, it is possible that the FBI letter news story made that erosion more severe than it otherwise would have been...Based on all of the data examined here, we would conclude there is at best mixed evidence to suggest that the FBI announcement tipped the scales of the race.” [AAPOR]

FRENCH POLLS UNDERSTATED EMMANUEL MACRON’S VICTORY: Harry Enten: “Emmanuel Macron’s 32-percentage-point victory in France’s presidential election runoff may end up being touted as a triumph for French pollsters, who consistently gave him a huge advantage. But it shouldn’t be. The polls leading up to the contest between the centrist Macron and his far-right opponent were the least predictive in French history, underestimating Macron’s support, rather than Marine Le Pen’s, to the surprise of some….The average poll conducted in the final two weeks of the campaign gave Macron a far smaller lead (22 percentage points) than he ended up winning by (32 points), for a 10-point miss. In the eight previous presidential election runoffs, dating back to 1969, the average poll missed the margin between the first- and second-place finishers by only 3.9 points….Most elections aren’t that close, so pollsters usually get the winner and loser right. If you’re focusing only on who won and who lost, you’ll end up with the impression that pollsters are far more accurate than they really are.” [538]

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TUESDAY’S ‘OUTLIERS’ - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-David Byler takes an early look at the 2018 Senate map. [RCP]

-Bernard L. Fraga, Sean McElwee, Jesse Rhodes and Brian Schaffner argue that a decline in black turnout and an increase in white turnout helped win Donald Trump the election. [WashPost]

-Kyle Kondik recaps a series of focus groups held with Trump supporters. [Sabato’s Crystal Ball]

-The AP and NORC release a poll of Americans who have been in jail. [AP]

-The Center for Public Integrity finds support for shorter presidential campaigns [CPI]

-Mark Joslyn and Don Haider-Markel note the growing partisan divide in gun ownership. [WashPost]

-The Economist charts the results of the French presidential election. [Economist]

-Renée Cross, Jim Granato and Mark P. Jones find that many non-voters in Texas don’t understand the registration process. [WashPost]

-John Hudson reports on an internal State Department survey. It involves word clouds. [Buzzfeed]

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