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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.

092509chartgif_1.gif

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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Comments

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

Rasmussen:
"Support for Health Care Plan Hits New Low"

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/healthcare/september_2009/health_care_reform

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.

http://www.pollster.com/polls/us/08-us-pres-ge-mvo.php

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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