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President's Pollster Sends Congressional Dems a Memo

Anne Kornblut today reports that in advance of President Obama's health-care address Wednesday before a joint session of Congress, his lead pollster, Joel Benenson, sent a memo to Democrats on Capitol Hill saying that support for a health-care overhaul is higher than it appears and will increase once the specifics are made clear. The full memo follows:

TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Joel Benenson
RE: Public Opinion and the State of Health Insurance Reform
DATE: September 3, 2009

•By large margins, the American people support major reforms to the health care system.

--82% of Americans say that the U.S. health care system needs either fundamental changes (55%) or needs "to be rebuilt" (27%). (CBS, Aug. 31)

•A substantial majority of Americans believe that the problems in the country's health care system will eventually affect most Americans if they are not addressed.

--65% of Americans believe that the health care system's problems will eventually affect most Americans, while only 31% believe most Americans will continue to get good health care. (CNN, Aug. 31)

•The desire for change is driven, more than anything else, by a desire to see a crackdown on the worst practices of insurance companies:

--An overwhelming 92% say it is important to them personally that reform protects consumers in the health insurance market by requiring insurance companies to continue coverage at reasonable rates when they become ill. (Kaiser, Aug. 11)

--Two thirds (66%) say this is very important to them. (Kaiser, Aug. 11)

•There is little doubt that the moderate numbers of support for the President's health insurance reform plan are based in large part on a lack of awareness of the details of the plan.

--Only 31% say they "understand the health care reforms under consideration in Congress, while 67% say they find them confusing. (CBS, Aug. 31)

--Indeed, even Republican pollster Public Opinion Strategies found that 37% have no opinion yet on the President's plan, while 25% support and 37% oppose. (POS, August 13)

•When voters learn about the composition of the plan, support grows considerably.

--For instance, an NBC poll found that initially, only 36% said that the President's health care plan is "a good idea" while 42% say it is a bad idea. (NBC, Aug. 17).

--However, 53% said they favored the plan after hearing a short description of it that included:

* Requirements on insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions;

* Requiring all but the smallest employers to provide health coverage or pay a percentage of their payroll to help fund coverage for the uninsured

* Tax credits to help families and individuals to help them afford coverage

• As we enter this final stage of the health insurance reform debate, there is a significant opportunity to clearly define health insurance reform, replacing Republican misrepresentations with facts.

--Voters still see a strong need for reform.

--Large majorities believe that health care will get worse for most Americans if the health care system's problems are not addressed.

--When they learn more about the specifics of reform, support grows considerably.

Posted at 10:25 AM ET on Sep 4, 2009  | Category:  Primary Source
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"A Rasmussen poll released last month showed that 40% of voters said that cutting the deficit in half by 2012 should be President Barack Obama's TOP PRIOITY. Only 21% said health-care reform should be his No. 1 priority."


So, we need to cut the deficit, but don't reform a major cause of that problem to resolve the issue? That kind of "critical thinking" is one of the reasons we are in this position. Apparently it is only reform if it does not require change for something which effects them? Everyone wants to cut "waste", but the definition of waste depends on who benefits from that waste. Pork is something other Congressmen get for their district. If it is in my district, it is a justified need for which I paid taxes.

Getting out of this mess will require sacrifice for everyone. Delay will only cost more money.

Posted by: bs-intolerant | September 8, 2009 11:48 AM

lol...that's right, don't listen to the people,,,shove it down their throats and hope they don't vote you out in 2010

Posted by: NoVaPatriot | September 7, 2009 9:49 AM

Denial for the win!

Posted by: gorak | September 6, 2009 4:08 PM

I believe the President should take a principled stand. We have been dealing with politicians who say what is expedient to get elected and then continue after their election to pursue their self interests by pandering to the money trough. The prime objection to universal health care is that it will weaken the profits of the Health Insurance industry. They have spent millions of dollars trying to kill a bill that could have been used beneficially. Candidate Obama promised to promote universal health care if elected President. The people elected him and they will respect and support him if he keeps his promise. If he provides the leadership and his own Party members including the blue dogs do not line up behind him it will show clearly what needs to be remedied. Ultimately the will of the People will prevail over special interests and the direction will never be reversed. That is why opponents are pulling out all of the stops including promoting hooliganism, distortion of the truth, and violence.

Posted by: fasm7700 | September 6, 2009 12:42 PM

Wait just a minute. The reference to any GOP reform Plan is disingenuous to day the least. THERE IS NO GOP REFORM PLAN presently being considered by this DEM controlled congress. All GOP admendments proposed to the current committee plans in congress have been rejected by the DEM majority. Regarding the polls referencing your GOP Reform Plans, just WHAT WERE THE PEOPLE VOTING ON re the 16 to 20 percent approval rate. Is it regarding Medicare D? If so, remember that Medicare D was approved by both congressional DEMs and GOPs years ago; not what is being discussed today. Medicare D is one of the reasons why specific reform today is needed in order to remove or change certain deficiencies so that the current system becomes much more viable for the people; however, a complete or total rewrite of the healthcare system is not needed.

Posted by: rvallone24 | September 6, 2009 12:41 PM

I believe the President should take a principled stand. We have been dealing with politicians who say what is expedient to get elected and then continue after their election to pursue their self interests by pandering to the money trough. The prime objection to universal health care is that it will weaken the profits of the Health Insurance industry. They have spent millions of dollars trying to kill a bill that could have been used beneficially. Candidate Obama promised to promote universal health care if elected President. The people elected him and they will respect and support him if he keeps his promise. If he provides the leadership and his own Party members including the blue dogs do not line up behind him it will show clearly what needs to be remedied. Ultimately the will of the People will prevail over special interests and the direction will never be reversed. That is why opponents are pulling out all of the stops including promoting hooliganism, distortion of the truth, and violence.

Posted by: fasm7700 | September 6, 2009 12:23 PM

One thing Democrats lack is a good pr team. The "public option"? Why not call it Medicare option and make it self-explanatory. People want a safety net from private insurers that don't do what they should do or have promised to do.

When polls have asked what people think of Republican's plan, approval drops to 16%-20%.

If they wanted to fix healthcare, they would have done so. Instead, they added Plan D, unfunded when it passed, lied about how much it would cost (Thomas Scully was convicted), locked Senator's in for the vote until they agreed and it raised drug prices by 60% for everyone - not just Medicare. They also eliminated states from negotiating lower drug costs for Medicaid.

Plan D was a windfall for the industry. It had a trigger for a "public option" and no way to pull the trigger. 17 of those that prepared the plan left the government and went to plumb health industry jobs after Plan D was passed too.

Posted by: aikanae | September 6, 2009 11:25 AM

A Rasmussen poll released last month showed that 40% of voters said that cutting the deficit in half by 2012 should be President Barack Obama's TOP PRIOITY. Only 21% said health-care reform should be his No. 1 priority.

Posted by: Auburninbp | September 6, 2009 10:56 AM

Caveat legislator! Members of Congress should be aware that this memo cherry picks poll results to paint a rosy picture of how popular the Democratic reform proposals are likely to be.

A fully informative memo would admit that a recent poll released by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that of those who have heard "a lot" about the health care bills in Congress, 55 percent oppose and only 38 percent are in favor. (http://people-press.org/reports/pdf/539.pdf, page 12)

And that a CBS news poll conducted on August 27-31 found that 47% disapprove of President Obama's handling of health care and only 40% approve.


Posted by: coastofutopia | September 6, 2009 9:09 AM

The questions are none specific. No mention of public option or what specificly needs to change in health care. I believe that most Americans believe that it is more the insurances that need to be fix, not necessary for the government to take over the industry. If these are the question polls that democrats are going off of. It is no wonder that the democrats are lossing in the polls. Just because people want reform doesn't mean they want the democrats reform. I have been insured and uninsured. Even when I was uninsured I still didn't want the democrats health care reform. I have lived and experienced health care in Canada and if people think that people are treated the same and money doesn't effect care they are wrong. Even in Canada health care is decided on the mighty dollar. It is just the government that decides where the dollar is best spent.

Posted by: Jenn38 | September 5, 2009 5:05 PM

The polls that ask either or questions are inherently unreadable when the for/against division doesn't find whether the respondent is against the program because it is too much, or too little. Polls on current major policy agenda items need to be set to measure a gradient, from against because it contains Items a,b,c through content, to against because it does NOT contain items a,b,c. When Obama ends up having grabbed the center, then the quantification of what point adds voters to his policies, compared to how many voters abandon him because of the added items becomes a key consideration.

Currently he has about fifty percent of the country, but if that is the center most fifty percent, then can he add, say tewenty percent from the left while losing only five or ten percent from the right? Wherever he can do this he needs to do it.

Such a gradient finding poll would be much more valuable, both for the President to triangulate the largest possible majority, and for the current part of his electoral majority to show him where he must return to to get back his movement.

When that basically gets him everyone from the few remaining RINOs through the center to the agitated left, but costs him any bipartisan tinge, so be it. He never had any chance at Republican support anyway.

Posted by: ceflynline | September 4, 2009 5:49 PM

WHAT ABOUT TORT REFORM

Even Europe has limitations on medical malpractice law suits.

Until Obama shows a willingness to stand up to his special interest group (trial Lawyers) he will continue to not be trusted on this issue.

Insurance compaines are the scape goat as trail lawyers drive up costs.

Posted by: RongCapsFan | September 4, 2009 3:13 PM

I find it interesting that the poll data is silent on a public option.

Or perhaps more properly, dismayed.

Posted by: R49Thomas | September 4, 2009 11:39 AM

COVERT USE OF MICROWAVE/LASER 'RADIATION DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPONS' ON U.S. CITIZENS MAKES HEALTH CARE REFORM A CRUEL JOKE

Access to health care doesn't help untold thousands of unjustly targeted Americans recover from the devastating physiological effects of being silently irradiated by microwave and laser radiation "directed energy weapons" -- the weaponization of the electromagnetic spectrum, a silent "final solution" that may have the nation's political leadership in its ideological cross-hairs.

This technology is capable of altering moods, emotions, inducing fatigue, weakness, exhaustion, confusion, life-altering injury, disease and a slow-kill death. And key elements of the Obama administration, chief among them the defense/security/intel establishment, are proliferating these technologies by various modalities -- from hand-held weaponry to satellite and terrestrial cell tower based delivery systems.

These "targets" also are subject to financial sabotage that decimates their livelihoods and financial resources, and relentless "community stalking," harassment, surreptitious home entries and vandalism by government-enabled vigilantes affiliated with federally funded community policing and anti-terrorism organizations.

By its naivete, its rubber-stamp approval of the deployment of these destructive technologies and programs, the Obama administration is presiding over the destruction of democracy, the rule of law, and personal liberty.

The bureaucratic saboteurs and Dr. Strangeloves behind these multi-agency crimes against humanity and the Constitution must be removed from power, immediately, before this silent genocide claims more victims -- endangering the Obama presidency while making a mockery of the rule of law.

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | September 4, 2009 11:03 AM

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