Pennsylvania Poll Trolls Release ‘Obamacare’ Survey

Last we heard from GOP-aligned Susquehanna Polling and Research, it was October 2012, the sky was falling on Obama, and Dick Morris’ claim that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney would win the election in a “landslide” was looking more likely to those whose attention was focused on Fox News and the conservative echo chamber. See, the Harrisburg-based firm had released numerous polls skewed in the Republicans’ favor for a variety of firms and the numbers, which claimed Romney would likely win the Keystone State, were catching on nationally.

But they were really, really wrong. And now they’re at it again: They released the results of another poll yesterday “conducted on behalf of our corporate clients,” and it’s about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. After very careful research and having spoken to 700 Pennsylvanians on behalf of their corporate clients, SPR found—surprise!—Keystone staters hate, hate hate Obamacare. Or, to quote SPR’s Wordpress, “The results are startling, and quite scary.”

By a margin of 60-27, voters believe the Affordable Care Act will increase the costs of healthcare for both businesses and consumers.   This is a margin of better than 2:1.  How can this be good news for the Obama Administration when they have sold this law partly on the premise that it [the overhaul] will reduce costs for employers and consumers?  Isn’t this also what insurance companies were told?  Our past surveys for the business community show that most employers (nearly 8 in 10) say the costs of health care have already gone up not down over the years. …

To make matters worse, a comfortable majority of 53% think this new law will have a negative impact on job growth and the economy.  Only 30%, or less than one in three, say the law will be a good thing for the economy.   This is downright scary. In the same poll, the economy was named as the top issue facing the Commonwealth – the 6th year in a row that economic anxieties trumped all other issues dating back to 2007. …

Politicians like to say they put their full trust and confidence in the voters, but in this case I’m guessing team Obama is praying voters are dead wrong on this issue.  So if these results are right, the president may wish to beef up his PR efforts to win over a clearly dubious public.

And if history is any judge, “these results” are not right. As PW reported during the fall, SPR showed Romney ahead again and again, and they were wrong, again and again.

Unlike the outcome of an election, whether a person thinks a particular law yet to go into effect will cost them more money in the long run doesn’t mean it will. Which sort of makes this poll irrelevant—but still, it’s worth noting what’s going on here. According to their own website, Susquehanna is proud of their spot in the echo chamber as relaying wrong information that’s apparently valuable to their “corporate clients” or whoever (they list a long line of state Republicans on their website as clientele, as well) in the very, very short run. Case in point: Susquehannapolling.com touts a video of Dick Morris on October 24, 2012—about a week before Obama’s comfortable re-election—in which he uses a Susquehanna poll to claim Romney doesn’t even need to win Ohio, because he will win Pennsylvania. Morris was let go from Fox News after the election, in part for circulating information like the inaccurate polling of SPR.

It shouldn’t come as a shock that this poll was released this week, showing these results. With Gov. Tom Corbett’s career on the ropes, a number of challengers—including U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz—have stepped up to likely challenge him for the governorship in 2014. He nervously denied a key feature of the ACA in his budget address in early February, the Medicaid expansion. And while many conservative groups around the state commended him for this decision, recent moves have some thinking he’s re-opening the door for the ACA provision (Republican governors in New Jersey, Ohio, Arizona and other states have accepted it), which would provide basic health insurance to more than 500 thousand people throughout the commonwealth.

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