Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Fisking the Rep Shimanski survey

State Representative for 18A, Ron Shimanski, recently sent out a Legislative Questionnaire.

In an email I received a few weeks ago, he provides a sample of the results thus far and encourages those that want to participate, to call or email him to obtain a survey.

Question 1. Which system of health care reform do you prefer?

A. I'd like to see a health care system that allow freedom and choice, privacy and security, and no government take-over.

B. I am willing to pay higher taxes and face potential care rationing so the government can provide single payer health coverage to all Minnesotans, regardless of income.

Shimanski provides early numbers on what people think:

Respondents replied at an overwhelming 88 percent rate they prefer a health care system that includes things like freedom and choice, privacy and security, and no government take-over. Gaining only 12 percent of your support is a health care model that includes higher taxes and potential care rationing in a single-payer model.

Could these questions have been worse? Seriously?

With the questions worded so poorly, so politically loaded, it's amazing 12% supported a single payer model.

50 kids at a local elementary school recently took part in an informal survey (aka, a show of hands).

They were posed the question, which would you prefer?

A. A holiday from school so that they can go sledding and watch Sponge Bob.

B. A holiday from school in which you have to spend the whole day with you little brother or sister, dressed up!

100% of students wanted to watch Sponge Bob and go sledding.

The next day, they were posed with the nearly the same question, just worded a bit different.

What is your favorite holiday?

A. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

B. Christmas.

In a complete reversal, 100% of the students said Christmas as their favorite holiday. Note, each question talks about the same holiday, they are just presented differently.

That's the problem with Rep Shimanski's Legislative Questionnaire. It's a politically loaded questionnaire.

His question about health care feeds on fear mongering. He continues his fear mongering with the final question on his survey.

"Should Minnesotans be required to provide photo identification in order to vote?"

Area constituents also show strong support for voter protection,indicating at an 84-percent rate photo ID should be a requirement to vote. This would be effective in preventing voter fraud on election day and make it easier for election officials certify fair elections.

Shimanski and his colleagues, are creating a problem where no such problem exists.

The Voter ID requirement is troublesome for many reasons. It creates a backdoor poll tax. If you can't afford the $25 for a State of MN ID, you would not be able to vote.

In 1964, Congress ratified the 24th Amendment which banned poll taxes. A photo ID is just another hurdle for potential voters to jump over. Ultimately, it disenfranchises hundreds of thousands of voters, particularly low-income, communities of color, senior citizens, women and young people.

It would also appear that Shimanski will use "smokers" as a constituency group this coming fall. At the bottom of his survey, he lists several boxes for people to check. A constituent ID.

Veteran/Active Military, Parent, Teacher/ Student, Smoker, Hunter/ Angler, Senior Adult, Business Owner, Pro-life.

Why did Shimanski feel the need to post the preliminary results and ask for more surveys? Any statistical validity is called into question by releasing this info then calling for more surveys. We've already discussed the poorly worded questions...

It's important for our elected officials to know what's in the minds of their constituents (hear that Congresswoman Bachmann?). However, with such politically loaded, rhetoric filled questionnaires, Shimanski is getting the constituents to tell him what he wants them to hear, so he can remain in St Paul and not advocate for the people of 18A.

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