Wednesday, March 10, 2010

59% in favor of health care reform; 30% against!

from Daily Kos, last Friday...
(click here for original post, w/ hi-lighted links in post)

Digging into the Polls on HCR: Public Wants Stronger Reform
by mcjoan

Barry Sussman, editor of the Nieman Watchdog Project at Harvard's Nieman Foundation for Journalism, goes beyond the headlines screaming public opposition to healthcare reform.

Comes now (Feb. 26-28) a McClatchy/Ipsos poll of 1,076 people that on first glance offers rocks to sling at Obama. The lead question asks, “As of right now, do you favor or oppose the health care reform proposals presently being discussed?” Forty-one percent said they favored them, 47 percent said they were opposed, and the rest said they were unsure. Those are numbers the Republican leaders could work with.

But the pollsters went a step further, asking those opposed – 509 people in all – if they were against the proposals because they “don’t go far enough to reform health care” or because they go too far. Thirty-seven percent said it was because the proposals don’t go far enough. Thus – are you ready for this? – the addition of an obvious, simple follow-up question completely turns the tables. The overall numbers switch to 59 percent in favor of health care reform, 30 percent against. Putting aside those with no opinion, it becomes 66 percent in favor of health care reform, 34 percent against. Some would call that a consensus, or these days, a super majority.

Whoa, what happened here: a plurality against health care reform actually is a landslide in favor of it? In the same poll? If other surveys turn up similar data, will Republican leaders stop citing public opinion as the basis for opposing Obama’s health care legislation? Fat chance.

The poll did find resistance to key measures in the legislation. Seven of ten interviewed said they opposed putting “new taxes on the most expensive insurance policies;” six of ten opposed “a government requirement that everyone buy health insurance.”

There is still the opportunity to maximize the popularity of what ends up passing in the reconciliation package--make reform stronger with real competition for insurers, make sure the excise tax does not hit the middle class, and offset the mandate with some kind of public option, possibly Medicare buy-in. There's very strong policy and political arguments for making this bill as strong as possible--the 66 percent of Americans who want reform being no small part of that. That's a message the Blue Dogs particularly need to hear.

I suppose these folks are part of the 30% against health care reform! - sj

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