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Bloggers agree that Cap & Trade prospects are dim; disagree on Health Care chances:

This week's National Journal poll of bloggers asked about the chances that Congress will pass Cap & Trade and health care bills. As for "How likely is Congress to enact comprehensive health reform legislation this year?" 80% of the Left, but only 42% of the Right, thought that passage was "very" or "somewhat likely."

I voted for "very likely," and wrote: "Very likely to pass something that will be called 'comprehensive health reform,' due to political needs to demonstrate a major accomplishment. Prospects for creating a government-run program appear to be dimming, fortunately."

Regarding "How likely is Congress to enact 'cap and trade' legislation this year to curb global warming?" (there is supposed to be a House vote on Friday), 71% of the Left said "very" or "somewhat unlikely." Suprisingly, only 50% of the Right thought it unlikely. This is an interesting result, since usually each side is relatively more optimistic about the prospects for whatever particular eventuality that side favors.

I voted "somewhat unlikely," and explained "Any 'cap and trade' that can actually pass will probably be a C&T in name only, with so many special exemptions as to be nearly meaningless in terms of carbon reduction -- although of enduring importance as a venue for rent-seeking and special interest gamesmanship."

In previous weeks, some VC commenters have wondered about the significance of the Blogger Poll. I suppose that the answer is that it has the same significance as the National Journal's long-running polls of "political insiders." (Or, most recently, of "congressional insiders.") For people who are professional participants in U.S. politics or government--a group which probably comprises close to 100% of National Journal print subscribers--knowing what the "insiders" think is interesting and important in itself. Of course, the insiders can sometimes be seriously mistaken. (As in an early 2004 insiders poll in which most of the Democrats thought that Howard Dean had a near-lock on the presidential nomination.) Nevertheless, it is useful for a political professional to know what the insiders happen to be thinking this week. Similarly, it is useful for a professional to know what the political bloggers are thinking, regardless of whether the professional estimates that the bloggers are correct. National Journal's on-line audience does include some non-professionals, but these readers are self-selected to be, at least, highly interested in politics, and so for them, knowing what the insiders or the bloggers think can also be interesting.

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