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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Latest poll results shed light on critical issues

By: Ryan Jaroncyk, THL Contributor

Based on the latest polls, Americans want a public health care option, they don't want to send more troops to Afghanistan, and they don't like the GOP.

This is not surprising since the GOP, on the whole, advocates a second surge in Afghanistan and is resistant to any type of public option. Let's take a closer look at the numbers.

In a CNN Poll, 52% of Americans believe Afghanistan is turning into "another Vietnam", while 46% disagree. 59% oppose sending more troops to Afghanistan, while 39% support sending more. Of the 59% opposed to more troops, 49% support a partial or full-scale withdrawal.

Greater than 67% believe that Afghanistan will not have a stable government in the next few years, although a similar percentage feels an American presence is necessary to assist the Afghan government and to prevent the reemergence of Al-Qaeda.

In a Quinnipiac Poll, 61% of voters want a public option, although voters, by a margin of 47% to 40%, disapprove of President Obama's health care reform plan. By a margin of 57% to 37%, voters do not want Congress to approve health care reform without a single Republican vote. In addition, 71% of voters believe health care reform will add to the deficit, while 19% disagree.

Regarding the GOP, only 25% of voters have a favorable opinion of the party, and only 29% believe the GOP is acting in good faith on the Hill.

So, what can we ascertain from these numbers?

On Afghanistan, a majority opposes more troops, and a near majority supports either a partial or full-scale withdrawal. However, a strong majority accepts the premise that an American presence of some kind is necessary to stabilize the nation and prevent Al-Qaeda from utilizing it as a staging ground to attack our nation.

Though these numbers may be a bit contradictory, they would seem to support a third, viable option for Afghanistan: Withdraw most of our troops, but utilize special ops, drone attacks, air strikes, cruise missiles, and a vigilant, nearby naval presence to contain Al-Qaeda.

On health care, a strong majority supports a public option, but a near majority rejects Obama's reform plan, which is still keeping the government plan alive. Perhaps the near majority is more of a reflection of Democrats that demand a public option in any plan.

And although most support more government-based health care reform, a vast majority believes such a plan will add to the deficit, even though this contradicts Obama's and the CBO's projections. As a result, there seems to be a consensus that Americans desire strong health care reform, including a public option, even though they believe it will add more debt.

On the Republican Party, the vast majority disapprove at this time. This could be due to the fact that Republicans have posed vociferous opposition to the public option, formidable opposition to Obama's huge budget deficits, and strong support for more troops and a longer stay in Afghanistan.

Or, it could be due to the perception of hypocrisy, since the previous Administration ran huge deficits, added trillions of dollars of debt, and bailed out Wall Street with trillions in taxpayer dollars. Or, more simply, it could be due to the rancorous partisanship wars between major media outlets.

What do you think about these polls? What do they say about voters? What do they mean for America? What does it mean for the Republican Party? Let's hear your thoughts.


  1. I'm not sure why you didn't use any data out of Rasmussen's shop. They poll only likely voters, and as a result appear to be far more accurate in their projections. No, I don't work for Rasmussen.