I’m proud to say that in a recent poll I was voted the Number 1 fiction author in America for my Big Lake mystery series. And, as if that weren’t enough, I was also voted as the most wanted man to go to bed with. That’s pretty cool, if I do say so myself. Eat your hearts out Stephen King and Brad Pitt!

Of course, the poll consisted of just myself and my wife, but what the hell, those were the results. And you can’t argue with the numbers.

Or can you?

Lately the administration has been saying that 90% of Americans are in favor of stricter gun controls. That’s really surprising, because I’d say that 90% of the people I know feel just the opposite and don’t want any more laws infringing on their Second Amendment rights. If I were a suspicious man, I’d be saying that whatever poll they used to come up with those numbers was fixed. You know you can’t trust those darn liberals!

Then again, an outfit called the Doctor Patient Medical Association (DPMA) recently announced that according to a poll they took, 83% of doctors in America have considered quitting practicing medicine because of Obamacare. DPMA calls itself a nonpartisan association of doctors and patients. However, further research reveals that DPMA has an “Affiliate” relationship with the National Tea Party Federation, a coalition of local and regional Tea Party groups. Well, that’s about as non-partisan as you can get! You know, you can’t trust those darn conservatives either!

And you damn sure can’t trust polls and surveys, no matter what results they claim are the “facts.” All you have to do is ask the right questions of the right group of people and you can get any answer you want. Go to a gun show and ask people if they want stronger gun controls and you can bet you’ll get a huge majority of no’s. Ask that same question in Massachusetts or Connecticut and you might well come away believing that the majority of people are in favor of tightening firearms laws.

As for all those doctors who plan to quit? I’d like to see a poll telling us how they plan to pay off all of their student loans and make the payments on their BMWs and Escalades with what they earn flipping burgers at McDonald’s.

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31 Comments on A Numbers Game

  1. Francis Callahan says:

    I don’t know why people pay any attention to what the fools in dc pass and just do your thing if everyone ignores the stupid rules they come out with lately they could’n enforce them we have elected a bunch of idiots in the last few years

  2. Dave Mingus says:

    Well put Nick and right on spot. Polls are just that, and nothing more. Keep up the good work guy.

  3. Debbie says:

    Oooh, Nick! I almost ALWAYS admire your writing, here as elsewhere. And I have no argument with your insight into polls. But you blew it with that last paragraph! My DH (a family practitioner in solo practice) is one of the doctors who is just waiting for the other shoe to drop with Obamacare and force him into an unwilling retirement. He doesn’t have student loans anymore, but we also don’t have an Escalade or BMW. In fact, we couldn’t even afford your beautiful RV– we just replaced our 1988 Tioga with a 2004 class C Jayco.

    I read your blog all the time, planning a retirement on the road, where he can continue to work as a doctor around the country doing temporary gigs in between traveling, to allow us to afford to close his office. God only knows who will take care of US when we get sick. We certainly won’t find a doctor like him–he makes house calls, nursing home visits, sees patients all hours of the day and night (when I tell him HE needs HIS sleep, he says, “Someone is in pain! I’ll be back soon.) Not long ago, he was making regular house calls to someone who has horses–and was feeding the horses while he was there because there was no one else who could or would do it. And just btw, we would definitely be considered “liberals.” So when doctors say they are considering retirement because of Obamacare, you can maybe believe it. Until it passed, nothing would even make him THINK about it. And in theory, the idea is supposed to be to ENCOURAGE family doctors…..

    Sorry for the rant–you pushed my buttons this morning!

  4. Joe Vagott says:

    Believing those polls is like believing those diet pill commercials on tv.

  5. Connie Bradish says:

    Liars use numbers and numbers lie. You can make statistics and poll responses mean just about anything you want. And the size of the group and location of the people is so VERY important. When you dig down into many of these polls you discover that just a few thousand were asked a leading question and that’s supposed to represent the opinion of the US. I don’t take much stock in polls myself.

  6. Dave K says:

    If 90% of the population is in favor of Gun control ? THEN why isn’t there any ammo to be bought on the shelves of Wal-Mart & the gun shops?. and right on about the doctors..Fat chance of that happening!

  7. Steve says:

    Just ask Karl Rove about polls.
    I’m becoming more and more against the second amendment. Repeal it. Replace it with something more reasonable in tune with the times. Militia, my butt. Were you watching TV last week when the government shut down most of Boston? Do the Teabaggers think they have a chance? Get real.
    I’m not against responsible laws regarding guns and who can own them. I think we all agree that some people should not have guns.
    Most people I know who have guns merely play with them. That just
    seems childish.

  8. Lloyd says:

    Steve,I am sure an intelligent person like you realizes it isn’t Teabaggers.

  9. Sal Bellomo says:

    We should all go back to loving one another and Loving God ,and not Killing . Some people Hate the world and all that’s in it and use a Gun to do that . It’s not the gun it’s the people with the gun . As far as government there’s no hope for the little people
    that are trying to make a life . God Bless

  10. Connie Bradish says:

    Steve, your response really stuns me. Just get rid of the 2nd amendment, make news laws, get with the times. Please read the history of this country, especially read quotes from the founding fathers. The 1st amendment is freedom of speech, second only to free speech is the right to bear arms and that right SHALL not be infringed. Oppressive governments have always disarmed the citizenry and ruled by force and intimidation. Our founding fathers understood that. Those of us who read and study history note that history tends to repeat itself as humans don’t seem to learn their lessons very well. There are a number of tyrannical governments presently in our world. If you don’t think it could happen here in the US, you are living in a dream world. I intend to continue to use my rights given to me by God and the Constitution to have free speech and the right not only to defend myself but to defend my country and my way of life against all aggressors be they foreign or domestic.

  11. ken turner says:

    Just my 2 cents worth; There are thousans of of who do not want more gun control crap! and we do not want guns in the hands of those who do shouldn”t have them !!! As we don”t want untrained nuts driving autos and trucks and rvs ! But the biggest thing we do want is to stop letting every one who wants to come to our country ! Stop them at the border,stop them at tne airport,stop them everywhere. Steve,get youself a gun and come on down to the border and play !!!! we need all the help we can get. And send all those limey reporters back to the UK where they can work on taking away more of their own freedoms !!! ken

  12. Aaron Borovoy says:

    Lies, damn lies, and statistics (and in this case, polls). Blogs and alternative news sources online, hundreds of channels with nothing to watch, and so many other ways people get their information now is a blessing, but the negative side is that we access the stuff that we tend to agree with and shut out the rest. The “info bites” we get from sources like Facebook usually shed heat but no real light. Most people I know perceive a bias from Fox News and MSNBC, while some of those very same people I get all their news from one or the other. There is almost no “objective” information available anymore. We narrow-cast more than ever before that other opinions are either non-existent or held by people so uninformed as to be stupid or “one of those people.” We need to respect each other a lot more, and realize that someone may disagree with you and that doesn’t make them evil, or even necessarily wrong. This stuff drives me crazy.

  13. Nick Russell says:

    Thank you for your blog comment. The world needs more doctors like your husband. In fact, it needs more people like him, period.

  14. Paul J Stough says:

    @Debbie-May I ask what your husband sees in “Obamacare” that would cause a doctor to quit doctoring?



  15. Elizabeth says:

    Wow, I only know of one other doctor like Debbie’s hubby…glad to hear of another!!
    I cannot disagree with what you wrote Nick…I feel just plain sad at the chaos that is becoming the norm anymore here in this country…and glad some of the ones I loved best have already died and do not have to face what we probably will!!

  16. Connie Bradish says:

    Just a comment on doctors. One of my sisters is a nurse. She fills in at a number of hospitals in my home base area. She was curious about how ObamaCare was being received by local doctors. This is just a random sample of the doctors she knows. Most of them were concerned about the restrictions on them when dealing with patients and the potential loss in pay. Most of the doctors she talked to said they would simply retire rather than be controlled by government in how they treated patients and how they were paid. Again a small sample size but I think indicative of the real concern of doctors for quality & availability of care, availability for them to make money. Remember most of them have at least 8 to 10 years of college plus residency. They not only have lost income years but also many have high student loans to pay off. Add to that office, staff, medical malpractice insurance costs and it’s just plain expensive to be a doctor. And the average age of American doctors is around 54. Just FYI.

  17. Debbie says:

    @Paul: I asked my husband to give me “5 reasons in 5 short sentences”, trying to make his answer fit reasonable parameters and not usurp Bad Nick’s entire blog! If you think his “tone” sounds a little bit testy, it is probably because he worked yesterday from 7:00a.m.-9:30p.m. (his standard day), came home utterly exhausted, having not done 5 things he’d planned because he simply couldn’t stand up anymore. He went to bed at 10:30 after unwinding in front of the TV, and was gone again this morning around 6:30. The phone woke him up at least once last night. Here is what he wrote this morning:

    (1) financial restrictions — these fall into a lot of categories, but the average specialist can see his income fall by 25% to as much as 100%! Nothing like working for nothing! Primary care docs will average a 25% reduction in income in the next decade, in real dollars probably closer to 50%. This is in the face of needing to encourage more family doctors!

    (2) practice restrictions — these fall into many categories, but there are a lot of provisions that impose untested, unproven practice models that restrict how doctors will practice

    (3) electronic mandates — financial PENALTIES are already being imposed for not “e-prescribing” (sending prescriptions over the internet to pharmacies, not only restricting what and how you prescribe, but giving government INSTANT access to the patients personal medical records). Paperless office systems are mandated to be funded but the funding is a joke. the available systems are massively inefficient and time consuming and cumbersome. Non-use is penalized.

    (4) falling reimbursement — Medcicare is going to be reimbursed at the 2001 rate for the foreseeable future.

    (5) practice oversight — mandatory reporting of “how well am I doin’ ” — payments geared to adequacy of treatment for blood pressure, diabetes, etc…. cookie cutter medicine mandated.

    I can go on and on and on…..

  18. ken turner says:

    A factual,, why they will leave doctoring,My self and my wife had a very good Dr. for som six years. One day he told me to find a new Dr. as he was finnished ! why and what will you do now ? this was his answer: I only spend 5 or 6 hrs. each day with my patients and another 7 or 8 hours on paperwork ! I just can’t depend on staff to do all of that,as the Goverment has been on my back so bad it scares me!!!! I’m going back to my home town, hang out a shingle and advertise doctoring CASH ONLY !!
    No insurance,no government programs,cash only and you take your
    paperwork and try to deal with them !! By the way the price will be real good and I”ll take chickens or eggs maby a small pig or
    slab of bacon in place of cash .He has been gone for several years now . When he did come back a few weeks ago , He looked a lot younger and happier and said he wouldn’t trade his new life style for anything. When he left we had to find new doctors and
    my wife didn’t make out so well,
    her new Goverment assigned Dr.who she had to stay with untill
    medicare elig. ENDED UP KILLING HER AT AGE 81 It’a long story,
    but resulted in his giving her 1280 mg too much meds. a day !
    It cost his insurance a bundle,but he is still in business. I’m
    missing one sweet lady of 47 years.So be careful of who you deal with and good luck with obamacare! Ken

  19. Croft says:

    Like you say nick, it all depends on the circles you travel in. I can honestly say that 90%+ of my friends really want stronger gun controls.

    There have been other surveys or polls done of doctors wanting to leave the USA because of Obamacare. Where would they go? Name one country other than the USA that does NOT have socialized medicine. Where are they going to move to? Cuba? Canada? Mexico?

  20. Croft says:

    I just Googled “nra members want gun control”

    I received links to many news organizations including CNN, NYT, PBS, US News, Current.com, and dozens more supporting this statement. Not one site refuted it.

    The NRA spent millions telling us that “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. It must have worked as the vast majority do not want background checks on guns, only on the people owning and shooting them.

  21. Nick Russell says:

    Actually, Croft, as I wrote in another blog a while back, I have no problem with background checks. IF it is limited to just that.

  22. Croft says:

    We are in agreement on this point my friend. Let’s build on it! 😉

  23. Barb Scrafield says:

    as far as gun control goes? Why make more laws, when the present ones are not enforced? Some of the cities and states with the strictest laws, have the highest gun crimes.

    As far as the so called “affordable care act”? Nothing about it is going to be affordable before very long. Everyone’s premiums wills be going up. We have a close friend who’s company, employees more than 200 people. Starting next year his companies health care premiums for his employees is going up so high, that he said it’s better for the company to pay the fine and let the employees get their own heath care. I am also reading the same thoughts of other businesses, in the news paper..
    I read in the paper just last week, that some folks on Medicare are losing their doctors because the doctors no longer want to deal with trying to collect from the government. It’s going to get worse.. Fines, taxes and fees everywhere
    The democratic Senator from Montana, who helped write the bill, now says that Obama care is heading for a train wreck.

    Health care in the future sounds a little shaky.

    Our own experience with Kaiser here in Calif.? My husband needed to see the Podiatrist recently. It now takes 6 weeks to get an appointment. That never happened before.

  24. Croft says:

    In Canada we have something far better than the watered down Obamacare. We pay about $70 per month for both of us and have complete health care, 100% paid for. We pick out own doctors and have never experienced any delays. We have both had fairly serious and pressing concerns and have been treated quickly and professionally.

  25. Paul J Stough says:

    @Debbie-Thank you for your thoughtful response. The question that comes to mind now is where is all the money going? If doctors will be making less and premiums are going up, where is all additional money going? Hospitals, Insurance companies?

    As far as the topic goes; my observation is that it is harder and harder to get “fair and balanced” information anymore whether it is a poll or “research”. It seems that almost everyone has an agenda when they do polls or do research, save for Nate Silver in the last Presidential election.

    Speaking of “fair and balanced”. Whenever I hear that on Fox News it reminds me of Richard Nixon saying “I am not a crook”.


  26. Croft says:

    Here is what US doctors earned (average by speciality) in 2011. I don’t see many of them having to miss a meal.

    Here’s an overview of physicians’ compensation in 2011:

    Radiology: $315,000
    Orthopedics: $315,000
    Cardiology: $314,000
    Plastic surgery: $270,000
    General surgery: $265,000
    Obstetrics/Gynecology: $220,000
    Psychiatry: $170,000
    Pediatrics: $156,000

    Read more: http://healthland.time.com/201.....z2RiCDSuse

  27. Barb Scrafield says:

    I much more object to what the folks in DC make than I would complain about what my doctor makes..

  28. Allan says:

    We have had to find new doctors to replace ones we had for years . They retired earlier than what they planned to because they were not going to put up with Obamacare. This is a fact not a poll. We are hoping our new doctors are as good as our former doctors.
    Most of the people I have been in contact with the last couple of years do not want to expand gun registration in any way because they have no trust in how the government will use or change the law. They know this President has a gun-control agenda and will not stop pushing for it regardless of the Bill of Rights. I do believe the polls he quotes are highly manipulated.

  29. Paul J Stough says:

    @Allan-What does the 2nd Amendment mean?


  30. Paul J Stough says:

    Speaking of the Constitution:


  31. Allan says:

    Paul, I know you like to word spar with people on this blog. I will not. The Bill of Rights spells it out very simply. It is necessary to have a militia to maintain our freedom but it does state “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” This couldn’t be plainer.
    You referenced Jon Steward as quoted in the Huffington Post, he is a poor example of an authority on anything, especially the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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