Bloggers polls: Health care, Tea parties, and commentators:

This week, the National Journal poll of political bloggers asked a bonus question, about which "columnists, bloggers and television or radio commentators most helped to shape their opinion or worldview." For right-leaning bloggers, the top five were, in order: Charles Krauthammer, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Steyn, Jonah Goldberg, and Eugene Volokh (!). All hail the Master of the Conspiracy.

On the left, the winners were Paul Krugman, Rachel Maddow, Frank Rich, Bill Moyers, and Digby.

As for the regular questions, the first was "How much will Democrats be helped or hurt in the midterm elections if Congress doesn't pass major health care reform legislation?" My answer was "Helped a lot." Over half the Right, but only 6% of the Left, thought that Democrats would be helped even a little.

My answer focused not on Democrats in general, but Democrats in swing districts: "There are plenty of reforms which would cost little and give people more choices -- such as allowing interstate competition in health insurance, or giving Medicare/Medicaid/etc. recipients the option of receiving vouchers to use as they see fit. These reforms would probably be supported by a broad spectrum of voters. However, if 'reform' is defined as federal micromanagement of private insurance, and greater federal intrusion into personal health care choices, then 'reform' will probably be perilous for Democrats in purple or red districts."

The second regular question "How closely should the Republican Party align itself with the Tea Party movement?" A majority of both the Left and the Right voted for at least "somewhat closely." I was among the 50% of the Right who voted for "very closely." As I explained, I would have said the same thing about the Democrats: "The Republicans -- and the Democrats -- should crack down on the institutionalized corruption in their own party, and should work hard to balance the budget, end the kleptocratic redistribution of wealth from taxpayers to politically favored businesses, and sharply reduce federal meddling in people's personal lives. Whichever party does that will earn the support of the Tea Party activists, and the gratitude of generations to come."