[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Latest Healthcare Polling

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Latest Healthcare Polling

A cursory look at the results of a recent poll according to this AP article reveals some contradictory signals. While I'm perfectly aware that polls can often indicate mixed signals, it's still noteworthy to point these out.
Months of Republican attacks on President Barack Obama’s health-care proposals appear to have hurt the party, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

The survey found 64 percent of voters disapproving of the way Republicans in Congress are doing their jobs, with 25 percent approving. Also, 53 percent had an unfavorable opinion of the party in general, while 25 percent rated it favorably.

The performance of Democratic lawmakers was disapproved of by 56 percent, with 33 expressing approval. For the party in general, 46 percent expressed disapproval, 38 percent approval.

Asked who they trusted to do a better job on the health-care issue, 47 percent said Obama, 31 percent said the Republicans. The president’s overall approval rating was 50 percent, unchanged from a similar survey in late July and early August.

So basically, neither party is popular these days (no surprise there). Obama's approval ratings have stopped falling and are hovering around 50 percent. Honestly, that's a good sign for the president. What that means for us may be a different story. Stay tuned.

Here's where the contradictions come in:

At the same time, voters disapproved of the way Obama was handling health care, 51 percent to 41 percent. His health-care plan was opposed by 47 percent, supported by 40 percent.

The poll found voters support a government-run plan to compete with private insurers 61 percent to 34 percent. Obama backs creating such a program, which has been the focus of much of the health-care debate in Congress. House and Senate Democrats are divided over the proposal, known as the public option, while most Republicans oppose it.


The survey found voters support having businesses pay for employee health insurance, 73 percent to 23 percent. The poll respondents were more closely divided on whether Americans should be required to buy health insurance, as Obama wants. The proposal was backed by 50 percent, opposed by 45 percent.

Obama has said he won’t sign a health-care bill if it is projected to add to the federal budget deficit. In the poll, 71 percent said they expect any measure that emerges from Congress would increase the deficit, while 19 percent said they believe it wouldn’t.


The survey of 2,630 voters was conducted Sept. 29-Oct. 5 and has an error margin of plus-or-minus 1.9 percentage points.

A majority (51 percent) disapprove of Obama's handling of healthcare, and a plurality (47 percent) are flatly opposed to Obama's plan, but a larger majority (61 percent) support a government-run plan. Since this is a centerpiece of Obama's overall plan, the disparity is a little surprising.

Most telling (and confusing) is the overwhelming number (71 percent) that expects the deficit to increase as a result of a healthcare bill. Assuming everyone thinks an increasing deficit is a negative, one would expect overall support of a healthcare bill, Obama's plan in general and his overall handling of the issue to be more in line with the 71 percent figure above. A lot of this depends on exactly what was asked and the choices given, so unless we read into that closer it's impossible to pin down the reasons for the disparity. Nevertheless, interesting stuff.


Blogger Jonathan said...

I might consider supporting a govt-run health plan IF

-It took effect well before the 2012 election,

-Congress unhesitatingly subjected its own members and their families to the plan, and canceled their current health plan as part of the deal,

-The bill was < 100 pages long and every member of Congress read it before voting,

-And the history of govt-run health care -- under Medicare, the VA, the military and the BIA -- wasn't one of poor-quality service and order-of-magnitude cost overruns.

IOW, the current deal is a scam, even if Sen. Grassley and other Republican mush heads work out some kind of compromise, and even if the deal somehow starts to poll well. Govt-run health care or insurance "markets" or "managed competition" can only deliver quality care at exorbitant cost, and can only control costs by restricting care and/or reducing quality. And govt involvement in such personal matters is certain to reduce individual liberty.

5:41 AM, October 10, 2009  

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