Medicaid Expansion is a Tell

Everyone’s favorite poll aggregator, Sam Wang, is writing at the New Yorker and has found something interesting about Medicaid expansion:

According to these data points, Republican governors who bucked their party’s stance and accepted the policy [Medicaid expansion] are faring better with voters—in these races, an average of 8.5 percentage points better.

Considering that crusading against Obamacare has been a core part of the G.O.P. playbook, this 8.5-point difference may come as a surprise. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that voters’ sentiments are driven entirely by health-care policy. Think of the Medicaid expansion as a “proxy variable,” one that is predictive of stands on many other issues. For example, even as Pennsylvania voters have trended toward the Democrats, Corbett got behind several radical redistricting schemes, cut education funding deeply, and compared gay marriage to incest. In Maine, LePage has called legislators idiots and state workers corrupt, told the N.A.A.C.P. to “kiss [his] butt,” and held multiple meetings with “sovereign citizens” who advocate secession. In short, if you’re too hard-core or offensive, some of your constituents can get turned off.

Sam Brownback and Scott Walker are also in trouble, because it takes a real asshole to refuse a no-brainer like Medicaid expansion, and, as a whole, voters don’t like assholes.  LePage might squeak through because Lloyd Eliot Cutler is running as an independent in that race.

38 replies
  1. 1
    Betty Cracker says:

    Scheming crook and wholly unlikable asshole Rick Scott, governor of FL, wanted to accept Medicaid expansion since, as a scheming crook who used to serve as CEO of a healthcare system that bilked Medicare / Medicaid for fun and profit, he could see the grift potential. But the teaturds who elected him shrieked like scalded ferrets at the prospect of poor folks getting access to healthcare, so he let that drop. God willing, he’ll lose in November.

  2. 2
    jeffreyw says:

    @Betty Cracker: God willing, he will be bagged in a large sack full of those pissed off, screaming, ferrets.

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    Last I heard, the Dem was faring well in the three way match up in Maine, so I’m hoping things will work out. Mainers deserve better.

  4. 4
    Davis X. Machina says:

    For ‘Lloyd Cutler’ read Elliot Cutler.

    I expect the bien-pensants like James Fallows to deliver LePage safely back to the Blaine House. LePage can’t do it on his own.

    Mainers hate politics. They hate politicians. And they hate political parties. All they want is a politics without politicians.

    When Maine does feel compelled to elect politicians, it will always choose the politician jumping up and down and saying ‘I’m not a politician!’ the loudest (Angus Cutler, Eliot Cutler) or whoever looks and sounds the least like a politician (Susan Collins, Paul LePage).

    Perot beat Poppy Bush here, in one of Bush’s home states. Two of the last five governors have been independents.

    Couple that with a first-past-the-post election for governor, and it’s easy for someone who can pull a 39% plurality to win.

  5. 5
    JPL says:

    In GA, one recent poll had Deal ahead, the second poll had Carter ahead. It depends on voter turnout among minorities. link

  6. 6
    constitutional mistermix says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Thanks, I fixed it.

    That Fallows piece is definitely Fallows at his worst.

  7. 7
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @constitutional mistermix: Yet I called ‘Angus King’, ‘Angus Cutler’….

    Guess I’m a hypocrite….

  8. 8
    Baud says:

    Cop Who Pushed Anchor in Ferguson Suspended for Racist Speech

    How horrible that speech must have been for Newsmax to call it racist.

  9. 9
    RaflW says:

    As regards Walker, this Minnesotan partnered to an ex-Milwaukeean sure hopes he is in trouble.

    For all he’s got up to, he should be at Rick Scott/Bobby Jindal popularity levels.

  10. 10
    MikeJake says:

    Accepting the expansion is probably what will put Kasich over the top in Ohio. It’s difficult to remind voters what a weasel he was early in his term because he’s kinda laid low since he got his head handed to him on Issue 2.

  11. 11
    Baud says:


    I don’t see how Kasich and Walker wins don’t do incredible damage to union clout.

  12. 12
    MattF says:

    @Baud: In fact, wingers claim an exquisite sensitivity to racism, enabling precise distinctions among possibly racist statements– distinctions that tend to be quite invisible to anyone else.

  13. 13
    Hill Dweller says:

    The twitter machine is telling me Meet the Press is giving Rand Paul a tongue bath this morning.

  14. 14
    RaflW says:

    @Baud: Given the disparity between MN and WI unemployment and GDP rates, I don’t see how a Walker win isn’t deeply damaging to all of Wisconsin.

    Your point taken also. Reading here recently about the bullshit “just in time” family-destabilizing worker scheduling systems at Mcjobs makes it so plain why we need more unions.

    But the prevailing meme is that Unions Suck. Certainly that is partly due to past union behavior, but decades of deeply financed and coordinated right wing campaigns against unions have been stunningly successful. Walker is at the pinnacle of that shit mountain.

  15. 15
    Gene108 says:

    So basically accepting a purely Democratic policy, which Republicans have been demonizing, since before its passage (eg death panels) has done enough to appease voters that a bunch of no good Republican governors have done something to help them get re-elected.

    And we wonder why we cannot have nice things

  16. 16
    MattF says:

    @Baud: Also, leading the Newsmax list with a quote from Pat Buchanan about the coming race war kinda spoils the effect.

  17. 17
    Baud says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    If that were literally true, it would still be better than their normal programming fare.


    Regardless of how unions got to where they are, if they can’t defeat the people who hate them, then no one is think of them as serious political players.

  18. 18
    RaflW says:

    @MattF: I’m assuming he was pouring gasoline. While smoking.

  19. 19
    JPL says:

    @Hill Dweller: hmmm.. MTP does use republican talking points. The powers that be in the republican party must be concerned.

    also.. what Baud said

  20. 20
    RaflW says:

    @Baud: They’ve been so shrunken through a combination of factors that, in many cases, they are not serious players.

    I think we are still, unfortunately, in a “things have to get worse before people organize” phase of worker exploitation. Though the cracks are beginning to show.

  21. 21
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @RaflW: WI and MN look almost like a controlled experiment of D vs R policies.

  22. 22
    RaflW says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: Yes.
    But voting is more tribal that evidence or results based, so we’re generating fabulous data for economists and polysci folks, but I’m pessimistic that it’ll matter (except maybe Kansas, where Brownback’s ultra supply side wet dream is the nightmare it was always destined be).

  23. 23
    Baud says:

    @RaflW: @RaflW:

    I agree with both of these comments. I’m hoping actual campaigning this fall will wake some folks up, but who knows.

  24. 24
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Baud: Given the idiocy I’ve seen in Oregon that the Koch brothers’ minions are throwing at Jeff Merkley, I can only hope that the stupid is confined to the 27%.

  25. 25
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @MikeJake: Well, that and Ed Fitzgerald stepping on his dick. Ed’s been a disappointment as a candidate, to say the least.

  26. 26
    Chris T. says:


    But the prevailing meme is that Unions Suck.

    Well, yes, but in fact, they do suck. (Some more than others; see Mike Jittlov’s spoof in “Wizard of Speed and Time”.)

    But so does life: “Life sucks, and then you die.” People need to realize that it’s a question of alternatives. Unions may suck, but the alternative sucks even more. :-)

  27. 27
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Chris T.: When I was helping to run a local non-profit ISP, we had a saying. All ISPs suck, but ours sucks less than the others. This rule also applies to computer operating systems. They all suck, but some suck less than others.

  28. 28
    MikeJake says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): The editorial sections have probably been tougher on him than he deserves. Witness the brouhaha over the whole not having a driver’s license for a decade thing, which is more bizarre than scandalous. But it was gonna be an uphill climb for him in the best of circumstances.

    Hard to say what new atrocity Kasich might push for early in a 2nd term, but to his credit the Issue 2 loss seems to have chastened him a bit.

  29. 29
    cmorenc says:

    That LePage has any chance of repeating the sort of narrow plurality win due to the presence of independent Cutler in the race is why not just Maine, but this whole country needs to go to an “instant runoff” system where people can give their #1 preferential vote to a third-party candidate without risking being a direct contributing cause of electing the repulsive sociopathic asshole they least wanted to see elected. Instead, they’d be able to list their cynically realistic second-choice as #2 without inadvertently helping a terrible candidate they’d not list as even their eighth choice out of nine, were they offered that many alternatives.

  30. 30
    geg6 says:

    I cannot find a single person, R or D or I, who likes Corbett. Pretty amazing because I know a lot of wingnuts. It only seems to be the religious zealots who are planning to vote for him. Guess I’ll have to ask the one religious nut I know. Amazingly to me, he’s our professor of chemistry on campus. Boggles my mind.

  31. 31
    kindness says:

    I have to say the good people of Maine baffle me. How many Ralph Nader routines are they going to fall for? Can’t they see they are shooting themselves in both feet being as principled as they seem to be?

    If LePage gets elected again the good people of Maine (and the bad ones) deserve him.

  32. 32
    SuzieC says:

    @MikeJake: Many Ohio observers think that Kasich and his wingnut pals will try to transform Ohio into a right-to-work (for less) state.

  33. 33
    pseudonymous in nc says:


    I have to say the good people of Maine baffle me.

    Yeah, there’s a point at which performing the “State of Independents” thing becomes a schtick and makes the state’s population collectively look like idiots. It’s one thing to elect Republicans like Collins and Snowe who put on a show of independence and still vote lockstep with their caucus, because I assume that there’s plenty of largesse gone their way as a result; it’s another to oh-we’re-independent themselves into re-electing an embarrassing nutcake like LePage.

  34. 34
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @pseudonymous in nc: It’s self-reinforcing behavior. The more extreme the practical consequences of demonstrating the independence, the more noble a stand the independence is, because damn the consequences.

    Purity trolling, in real life.

  35. 35
    Barbara says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): Totally. How did we end up with such a weak, weak candidate? I mean, sure I’m going to vote for Fitzgerald, but I’ll be cringing the entire time. I’ve voted for plenty of lesser evils but this time might be the first for greater clown.

  36. 36
    low-tech cyclist says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    For ‘Lloyd Cutler’ read Elliot Cutler.

    Not to mention, (a) Lloyd Cutler’s been dead for nearly a decade, and (b) he’d have regarded such a candidacy as beneath him.

  37. 37
    Helen says:


  38. 38
    Helen says:


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