Medicaid expansion’s complex politics: The other Corbett poll revelation

Show me the unskewed poll, please.

Show me the unskewed poll, please.

You may have heard yesterday that things keep getting worse for the company man in the Capitol, Gov. Tom Corbett. A new poll found Pennsylvanians consistently see him as a nuisance they’re ready to get rid of, come 18 months from now, as just 24 percent of the state believes he deserves re-election, and 56 percent do not.

Those findings, from GOP-affiliated Harper Polling, are no shock. Corbett’s numbers have been around that point for months. Not that they’ve made much of a difference in his governing style.

What did come as a shock are the variables that voters likely believe are the reasons behind his poll numbers — and how the governor may go about winning the public’s approval.

It’s best exemplified in Harper’s questions about the Medicaid expansion tied to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

In addition to asking 813 Pennsylvania residents whether their ruler deserves re-election, Harper asked two questions pertaining to Medicaid expansion—which would allow Pennsylvania residents who earn 133 percent of the poverty rate and give government health care to anywhere from 500,000 to 700,000 Pennsylvanians who earn too much to be on Medicaid and too little to afford their own insurance, on the federal government’s dime.

The question: “Do you agree or disagree that the state of Pennsylvania should expand Medicaid coverage for low income individuals, as called for under the new health care law known as the Affordable Care Act?”

And those who either “strongly” or “somewhat” agreed: 58 percent.

Then, Harper added language to the question, invoking President Obama’s name: “Do you agree or disagree that the state of Pennsylvania should expand Medicaid coverage for low income individuals, as called for under President Obama’s new health care law?”

Those who either “strongly” or “somewhat” agreed: 52 percent.

Still a majority. But you see what they did there, don’t you? President Obama, like any president, is a polarizing figure, and Obamacare is essentially what put Gov. Corbett, and many radical Republican governors all over the country, into office in the first place.

And the biggest move from the 58 number to the 52 number: The elderly, who vote when the Young Excited Liberal does not.

And no sitting governor, or state politician, is ever going to fall below the 24 percent mark (which means, Young Excited Liberal, he has nowhere to go but up!).

So, between the two revelations (Corbett deserving re-election and Medicaid), Young Excited Liberals should know this before breaking our their “Mission Accomplished” jig: 2014 is a political decade away. At this point in Obama’s first term, he was polling in the 60 percent margin. By the midterms, he lost the House and should have lost the Senate (if the Republican base had nominated “Generic Republican” in swing-state Senate races, rather than potential Stormfronters who often lost to Democrats who, like Corbett now, polled well below 50 percent before Election Day.)

Sure. Tom Corbett could lose re-election. But don’t think the 24 percent number will have anything to do with that. The Democratic party still has to, you know, run someone. And that someone is going to come with a station wagon full of baggage.

Not to mention that by 2014, Corbett may have already expanded Medicaid, like NJ Republican Governor Chris Christie and others, making it a non-issue. Or, better yet, making him more popular.

Leave a Reply

Follow PW

Got a news tip?

If you see something interesting, odd, funny or, of course, illegal, let us know by emailing