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Health-Care Reform Survived August

The Kaiser Family Foundation's new poll suggests that August was health-care reform's nadir, not, as opponents hoped, the beginning of an irreversible downward trend. Attitudes rebounded significantly in September.


What's interesting about that poll is that the big drop in support -- as opposed to the rise in opposition -- actually came between June and July, rather than in August. Also interesting is that the September rebound included both an increase in support and a drop in opposition. A lot of those opponents were soft opponents. Persuadable opponents. This is going to give a lot of comfort to lawmakers considering whether to pass the bill. It's not on some ineluctable downward slide.

By Ezra Klein  |  September 29, 2009; 3:42 PM ET
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Any poll with questions like "Do you support healthcare reform" is ambiguous enough to be useless.

Posted by: kingstu01 | September 29, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the wording of the poll is questionable but it certainly shows a trend.

Posted by: PeterH1 | September 29, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

"Support for Health Care Plan Hits New Low"

Posted by: whoisjohngaltcom | September 29, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the information, Mr. Klein. I know I won't find this poll anywhere else, because media seem bound and determined to offer as little real information on actual attitudes on health care as they can possibly get away with.
I have a request. A column devoted to Medicare Advantage. This newspaper, along with every other, is doing a lousy job explaining even the basics of that program.
If taxpayers knew they were paying a 15% subsidy to private insurers for Medicare Advantage as compared to the public program, cutting the subsidy to private insurers becomes a no-brainer. No backer of Medicare Advantage can defend this blatant taxpayer rip-off once the information becomes widely known.

Posted by: kay5 | September 30, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

What's interesting is comparing this to Obama's elect numbers last year. You see a very similar dip in support.

Not a perfect match, but in terms of its feel the whole "crazies at town halls are turning America against ObamaCare" hysteria this summer reminded me of the right-wing excitement in August of 2008 that the "celebrity" attack was taking hold and Obama was in real trouble. They both felt like shallow explanations for something with a fundamentally different causality.

It appears there's something structural about August that hurts Obama's numbers. I don't know what's behind it--maybe he's less popular when people are on vacation; maybe the people who support him don't answer their phone in August; maybe the press corps is staffed disproportionately with the 'b-squadders' who don't have the sophistication to ignore unsubstantiated right-wing attacks?

But whatever it is, it seems to be a trend. The August dip.

Posted by: theorajones1 | September 30, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

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