Posts Tagged ‘Public Opinion’

Gallup Asks For My Opinion

January 30, 2012 Leave a comment

If I’m strutting around like a peacock a little more than usual today, it’s because my opinion suddenly mattered last night. I got questioned by the Gallup polling organization. Here’s a scary thought: If it’s a sample size of 2,000, not atypical for a national poll, that means I’m speaking for 150,000 people.

This was “the right track/wrong track” and “Obama approval numbers” poll. It’s a biggie. Based on what I saw on the Gallup web site, these results will be out tomorrow, so I suppose you can give me .05% of the blame if the findings are not to your liking on Tuesday.

Before they got to the Obama approval question they asked several about my level of support for “the national leadership.” I asked the guy, “What does that mean, exactly?” His response: “Uh, I don’t know.” They asked about the courts. They asked about Obama. They did not specifically ask about Congress. So I’m still scratching my head trying to figure out what “the national leadership” means. That would explain my ”not sure” response.

There were a number of questions aimed at getting me to reveal how happy or miserable I am. Like “on a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you?” Hey, I’ve got a job and a nice apartment. Put me down for a “7.” They asked if I had health concerns. I thought about this joint pain I currently have in my left thumb. I recently had flu-like symptoms. And I get a little more heartburn than I used to. Could be worse. Put me down as “healthy.”

Then, I guess to see where I was really coming from, they asked, “On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate the quality of life of a 35 year old single woman, raising two children, with back pain and bringing in $4.000 a month?” Poor lady. That would be a “3.” They went on and on with various combinations of ages, genders, family circumstances, health problems and income levels. I figure that’s to see how my own, personal “7” stacks up to the ratings I was giving these other folks.

I’m not telling you how I rated Obama because that’s between me and my pollster. But I did vote for America headed “on the right track.” The economy is improving, slowly, but definitely in the right direction. We’ve had three consecutive months of falling unemployment and Wall Street (therefore my 401k and IRA’s) has been pretty decent lately. But I should have asked them to call me back if Greece and Italy go under because then we’re screwed and you can put me down as “wrong track.”

I did grade the nation’s current economic condition as only “fair,” so I feel I was realistic in my assessment on things.

Anyway, I shall wait anxiously for tomorrow’s poll results knowing that, for once, I actually had something to do with them. Back in the day, as a starving college student, I used to be the one asking the questions with a phone-bank full of fellow questioners. It always amazed me when people actually took the time to answer these questions. And I did last night, willingly, and fairly politely.

Put me down as “sucker!”

Congress: Where Failure is Always an Option

November 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Chart courtesy of the office of Senator Michael Bennet

Already less popular than Venezuelan dictator, Hugo Chavez, BP during the oil spill, Nixon during Watergate, lawyers, the IRS and Paris Hilton, Congress seems intent on finding a new bottom in the hearts of the public. The so-called congressional Super Committee’s failure to find even modest savings and revenues to address the federal deficit is just one more example why people seem to really despise Congress.

There is plenty of blame to go around on both sides and this is not an opinion forged out of a need to sound non-partisan. The combination of cowardice and partisanship is very, very powerful and both Democrats and Republicans are proving that, in this Congress, playing politics trumps national interest every time.

Democrats have not been serious about addressing the cause of much of our deficit-spending- entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. Why? Because the choices are painful and politically unpopular. Republicans, to their credit, finally gave in a tiny little bit and for the first time in recent memory, agreed to a modest rise in tax revenues but then sabotaged the whole thing by demanding that the Bush tax cuts not be allowed to expire at the end of the year- without identifying ways to pay for them.

With this failure, Congress has now opened the door to more failures over the next couple of months. Extended unemployment benefits may not happen. Keeping payroll tax cuts going into next year are, inexplicably, at risk.

Worst of all, Congress is expected to debate over the weeks ahead, whether to water down, delay or eliminate the triggered cuts that were supposed to take place if the Super Committee failed to do its job. The idea was that these cuts, many of them amounting to deep slashes in Pentagon spending, would surely pressure lawmakers into making a deficit deal. After all, who wants to be blamed for weakening America’s military?

If they try to weasel out of those triggered cuts, you can kiss even our AA+ S&P rating goodbye.

Clearly, no one cares up there on Capitol Hill. They don’t care if America is downgraded by credit agencies. They don’t care about endangering national defense. They don’t care about the unemployed. They don’t really care about reducing deficits. They give all the above considerable lip service- but the results tell the real story about the priorities of our politicians. They care about only two things; immediate political survival and getting on the gravy train when they leave Congress so they can continue to enrich themselves.

Representatives from both sides took to the Sunday talking-head shows to blame each other and finger point. No last-minute emergency negotiations. No burning the midnight oil. No college try. Nothing.

They are, however, working on the statement expected today- describing their failure to reach a deal. Maybe they won’t find a way to agree on that either.