John on October 22, 2009 at 7:14 pm
Jay Cost at Real Clear Politics has a terrific analysis of polling on the public option. He finds that the response pollsters get depends heavily on the wording of the questions being asked. This is suggestive of a public that is operating on generalities. Here’s the key portion but I encourage you to look at the whole thing:
Let’s take a look at Rasmussen. He has offered a series of really interesting questions on health care. First, he gives a basic version of the question that ABC News/WaPo, CBS News/NY Times, Marist, and CNN asked:
Would you favor or oppose the creation of a government-sponsored non-profit health insurance option that people could choose instead of a private health insurance plan?
That gets strong approval, as per usual when people hear words like “choose,” “compete,” and “option.”
Then Rasmussen asks this follow up:
Suppose that the creation of a government-sponsored non-profit health insurance option encouraged companies to drop private health insurance coverage for their workers. Workers would then be covered by the government option. Would you favor or oppose the creation of a government-sponsored non-profit health insurance option if it encouraged companies to drop private health insurance coverage for their workers?
What happens when this Republican argument is substituted for the Democratic argument? Support for the public option plummets dramatically. Nearly 3/5ths of all respondents voiced opposition to the public option when it was phrased in this way.
Now let’s imagine taking it one step further. What happens if we ask the question this way:
Several key Democrats have indicated that the so-called “public option” is a marketing effort designed to move the country to a Canadian style single-payer system over the next decade, gradually curtailing the number of private insurance options available to individuals and employers. Do you support this change?
This is, as we’ve shown, the Democrats real plan. I suspect if people were asked the question this way, support for the “public option” would drop to 25-30% and opposition would pass 65%. Anyone at Gallup or Rasmussen want to take me up on it? Go ahead, steal my question. I’m begging you.
The question isn’t being asked that way because the press has (apparently) decided not to let the public in on the Democrats real agenda. ACORN is not the biggest “overlooked” story of the year, the public option is. It’s a scandal.
Addendum: I swear I didn’t steal the idea for this post from Ace — who I read daily — but he did have the same thing up hours ago. Was at Disneyland all day. Just saw it.