As I reported yesterday, the press is tending to underplay the actual support for healthcare reform. If I were asked in a poll if I support the bill that was passed, I would have said no because it doesn’t go far enough. The CNN/Opinion Research poll conducted during the weekend showed that when you combine those who supported the legislation signed by the president yesterday and those who opposed it because it did not go far enough, 52% of Americans support the bill and/or even greater reform.
Today in The Washington Post, reporter Scott Wilson again mischaracterizes the level of support for reform.
In staging such a high-profile event, the Obama administration was helping to make health-care reform something for Democrats to run on in the midterm elections this fall, despite the fact that a majority of the electorate opposes it, according to opinion polls conducted before the vote. Rarely, if ever, have such events been as raucous as the ceremony-turned-political rally that rocked the ornate East Room for just over half an hour.
Looking at the healthcare polls on PollingReport.com, few of them ask whether opposition is based on the idea that the current bill or general principles about reform don’t go far enough. But I found two that did.
A Ipsos/McClatchy poll in late February found that overall 41% supported “health care reform proposals presently being discussed" and 47% opposed them. The poll then asked those who “opposed” the proposals, “Is that because you favor health care reform overall but think the current proposals don’t go far enough to reform health care; OR you oppose health care reform overall and think the current proposals go too far in reforming health care?" The result: 37% said they favored reform but that the current proposal didn’t go far enough, meaning another 17% actually support greater reform. The overall support for reform, then, is 58%.
In a CBS poll in early January, 57% of respondents said the “changes to the healthcare system under consideration in Congress” either were about right or “don’t go far enough.” When asked about the proposals to “regulate the health insurance industry,” 61% said they were about right or didn’t go far enough.
Electorally, I can’t imagine that those who are disappointed that reform hasn’t gone “far enough” or isn’t “liberal enough” would vote for Republicans in 2010 based on their opposition to reform. They may stay home because they are disappointed with Democrats, but they won’t be GOP voters.
If you like, write Post reporter Wilson (firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask that he not mischaracterize the public’s opinion of healthcare reform.
Cross posted on Commonwealth Commonsense.