Not surprisingly, presidential candidate Donald Trump leads the Republican 2016 field in the new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics of Iowa voters. But, here’s where it gets interesting, as Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza illustrates:
“The real story is contained deeper in the poll. In May, when the Register last polled, 27 percent of likely Iowa GOP caucus-goers viewed Trump favorably while 63 percent regarded him unfavorably. In the new poll, which was released Saturday night, Trump’s favorable number is at 61 percent and his unfavorable at 35 percent.
Numbers just don’t reverse themselves like that in the space of a few months (or ever). Especially when the politician in question is totally known by the electorate. Once you are both totally known and broadly disliked — as Trump was in May both in Iowa and everywhere else — you are doomed. One hundred times out of one hundred.”
Cillizza, who has spent the past 20 years following politics, is stunned, having never seen anything like this complete reversal. “It is, quite literally, unprecedented,” he writes. Cillizza continues: “But, of all the amazing things that Trump is doing — whether he realizes what it is he is actually doing — his ability to totally turn around his image is the most remarkable. It’s not something we’ve seen before. And it may not be something we see again.”
A pollster in Iowa is also amazed by Trump’s turnaround, marveling that Donald Trump is defying political logic with his 2016 GOP presidential campaign. Ann Selzer commented that in Iowa Trump is converting the doubter in a manner in which she has never witnessed before. “A few months ago he had the highest unfavorable [rating] of anybody,” Selzer said on “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “He has grown his favorability and it’s turned into votes,” she added.
While his poll numbers have soared, Trump has also been able to maintain these impressive stats even while conducting his campaign in a manner in which others’ candidacies would likely have been derailed. He managed to garner a considerable amount of support for his candidacy before much regarding his policy plans was known. And, when the policy details began to trickle in, his polls remained high even with Trump publicly singing the praises of government-run health care.
Trump, who has advocated for a single-payer system in the past, said during a GOP presidential debate: “As far as single-payer, it works in Canada, works incredibly well in Scotland.” Canada’s system, however, is known for rationing, long waits (six months for potential life-or-death procedures like neurosurgery or cardiovascular surgery, for example), poor-quality care, scarcity of critical medical technologies and unsustainable costs.
Sally Pipes, a Canadian who penned the book “The Cure for Obamacare,” wrote that, “to keep a lid on costs, Canadian officials ration care.”
As for Scotland’s National Health Service (NHS), it’s socialized medicine which has produced nearly the worst health outcomes in Europe. Forbes notes that “the sick in Scotland, unfortunately, have no such safety valve. They are forced to wait, and wait, and wait.”
And, in a worldwide study of cancer survival rates (CONCORD), the U.S. performed better than every country in western Europe. The UK’s performance was second-to-last. According to the researchers’ findings regarding Scotland: “If you’re diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S., you have an 84 percent chance of living for five years. In Scotland, it’s 71 percent. If you have colon cancer in the U.S., you have about a 60 percent chance of surviving five years. In Scotland, it’s 46 percent. If you have prostate cancer in the U.S., you have a 92 percent chance of living five years; in Scotland, it’s 48 percent.”
Trump has said that a single-payer system is no longer a viable option in the U.S., but what type of system would he implement as president? Forbes’ Avik Roy, an expert in health care policy, following the Fox News hosted presidential debate, said that:
“…what he appears to be saying here is that he supports a privatized version of single-payer health care, in which perhaps a single private company has a monopoly with which to negotiate contracts with hospitals and doctors. Gone would be companies like Aetna, Anthem, UnitedHealth, and Blue Cross—or perhaps they would be merged into a single entity.
This is hardly a superior outcome to single-payer health care: an unaccountable, trillion-dollar private insurance monopoly.
Some of Trump’s aides attempt to backfill the Donald’s ideas by claiming he really wants to ‘repeal and replace Obamacare’ with something more consistent with conservative principles. But Trump himself has never backed off from his support for government-run health care. Indeed, Trump believes that the problem with Obamacare is that it doesn’t go far enough.”
Clearly, Trump’s position on health care is unclear, at this time. Some view his statements as proof that he still supports a single-payer system in the U.S., while others argue that no recent statement he has made demonstrates advocacy for single-payer health care. But, will it even matter to GOP primary voters? After all, in 2012, Republicans nominated a presidential candidate who proudly supported government-run health care.