I’ve not generally been a big fan of Jennifer Rubin, to put it mildly, but as the GOP crazy train has lunged further and further off the tracks her columns have started to criticize some of the most egregious aspects of Republican extremism.
Case in point: this poll from the Heritage Foundation on Obamacare that she flatly labels “junk”. I mean, wow, just get a load of these “thumb on the scales” questions:
Q6. – AS YOU MIGHT KNOW, MAJOR PARTS OF THE OBAMA HEALTH CARE LAW WILL SOON BE IMPLEMENTED, INCLUDING THE MANDATE THAT REQUIRES EVERY INDIVIDUAL TO BUY HEALTH INSURANCE OR PAY A FINE, AND THE GOVERNMENT SPONSORED HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGES THAT ARE AFFECTING PRIVATE SECTOR HEALTH CARE PREMIUMS AND ACCESS TO DOCTORS. DO YOU THINK IT WOULD BE APPROPRIATE FOR CONGRESS TO TEMPORARILY HALT FUNDING FOR THE HEALTH CARE LAW BEFORE THESE PROVISIONS TAKE EFFECT, TO MAKE SURE THEY DO NOT DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD?
Q7. – IF THERE WAS AN EFFORT IN CONGRESS TO TEMPORARILY HALT FUNDING FOR THE HEALTH CARE LAW, WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING DO YOU THINK PRESIDENT OBAMA IS MORE LIKELY TO DO REGARDING HIS SIGNATURE ACHIEVEMENT IN OFFICE?
1. PRESIDENT OBAMA IS MORE LIKELY TO COMPROMISE AND AGREE TO SOME
CHANGES OR DELAYS IN THE HEALTH CARE LAW. OR
2. PRESIDENT OBAMA IS MORE LIKELY TO INSIST THAT THE HEALTH CARE LAW
GO FORWARD, EVEN IF THAT MEANS FORCING A BUDGET SHOWDOWN AND
TEMPORARILY SHUTTING DOWN THE GOVERNMENT.
63.2 INSIST/GO FORWARD
Q8. – IN ORDER TO GET PRESIDENT OBAMA TO AGREE TO AT LEAST HAVE A “TIME OUT” ON IMPLEMENTING THE HEALTH CARE LAW AND ITS FULL EFFECTS, WOULD YOU
APPROVE OR DISAPPROVE OF A TEMPORARY SLOWDOWN IN NON-ESSENTIAL FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS, WHICH STILL LEFT ALL ESSENTIAL GOVERNMENT SERVICES RUNNING?
28.3 Strongly Approve
31.5 Somewhat Approve
10.3 Somewhat Disapprove
18.3 Strongly Disapprove
OK, now with these unbelievably loaded questions, you would think the deck was sufficiently stacked. But nope. As Rubin notes:
The poll asserts that it measures “swing districts [but] Charley Cook ranks congressional districts with its Partisan Voting Index (PVI), the higher the number the greater the lean toward that party. A perfectly balanced district would be at zero.
Every single one of the districts [in the Heritage poll] with a GOP congressman has a GOP PVI of at least +6. The average PVI of these districts is over +10 Republican. The districts currently with a Democratic representative are even more right-leaning, with PVI ratings between +9 and +16 GOP (an average of + 12.75 GOP). Overall, President Obama lost these seats by an average of 18 points.
The only real question here is why the Heritage Foundation bothered to actually conduct a poll rather than just making up the numbers as well as the questions. It certainly would not have made the results any less meaningful.