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Poll: Support for health-care reform rising


I wouldn't make too much of this poll: The country remains divided. But I'm interested to see polling on the bill three months from now. My hunch is that voters take their cues from process. A bill that fails is a bad bill, or else why would it have failed? And a bill that passes is a good bill, or else why would it have passed? Perceptions are amplified by outcomes.

The Obama administration and congressional Democrats are planning a counteroffensive on the legislation in the aftermath of its passage. I don't put much stock in such things, but what they will get is an opportunity to message off of a whole different narrative. After the signing ceremony, uncertainty gives way to accomplishment, and sausage-making gives way to sausage. And sausage polls considerably better than sausage-making.

By Ezra Klein  |  January 14, 2010; 7:07 AM ET
Categories:  Health Reform , Polls  
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I've seen these poll results used many times on MSNBC, which they say indicates increasing approval for the health care bill.

What they fail to recognize (as do you, Mr. Klein), is the phrasing of the question: It asks, 'would you advise for or against voting for "A" a health care bill.' This suggests a desire for some health care reform to pass this year, but does not suggest a desire to pass THIS health care bill. If the question were asked, "would you like your Rep. or Senator to vote for THIS health care bill in Congress" the numbers would look very different.

It's all about how a poll question is asked...

Posted by: boosterprez | January 14, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Again, I think you're dancing in the endzone prematurely. This Massachusetts election could alter the dynamic. Go read Digby.

Posted by: scarlota | January 14, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I read this poll and immediately questioned the statistics.

This is a poll 'designed' to achieve a specific result.

All polls can be affected by the individuals polled.

And the key to 'jacking' the numbers around is to ask questions that are not a clear Yes, No response.

So I look at this particular poll as a PRESS OPS from the White House.

Posted by: miller515501 | January 14, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

"sausage-making gives way to sausage. And sausage polls considerably better than sausage-making."

Stop saying "sausage"!

Posted by: eRobin1 | January 14, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

EK, good point. If we get a handle on unemployment and then this, things won't look too terrible in November.

@eRobin1: What's wrong with sausage? Everyone loves sausage.

Posted by: leoklein | January 14, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

The Dow is now back over 10,700. As it continues to rise, and unemployment declines, Americans will slowly see through the defeatist GOPer claims that we are on the wrong track.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | January 14, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

If a health care bill passes, as we expect, I imagine the aftermath will be somewhat similar to the aftermath of the Welfare Reform bill signed in the Clinton administration, at least with respect to opinion from the left. I can recall much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments (I myself had no little trepidation about the social effects that would ensue) among the broad left. Clinton did quite a bit of post-passage reassurance. Within a few years, we'd largely forgotten about it.

Granted, it's easier to forget about something when it affects only a certain class. But in the end, most people aren't going to notice much difference in their insurance once the provisions go into effect. We'll see some benefits from those who will be able to purchase insurance for the first time, and initial complaints from those who don't want to purchase it. But all in all, in the long run I expect business as usual to prevail. It is the short-term political gameplaying (the 2010 midterms, for example) that will draw some substantial fire. But eventually, we'll all find something new to obsess about.

Posted by: JJenkins2 | January 14, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

As jobs are continually shed in the economic downturn, and companies, go bankrupt, close or are sold off as "assets only", more and more people are being stranded without access to healthcoverage (COBRA only covers you if your employer continues their healthplan). The President urged immediate action on reform, rightly claiming that people were in dire, desperate straights, TODAY. Record numbers of bankruptcies and foreclosures, many due to health, are being announced daily. But this bill will not fully go into effect until 2014 (or 2013 if Congress has their way). Couple this with the fact that the "cadillac tax" is seen as a middleclass tax increase by union laborers who accepted better healthcoverage instead of higher wages during their labor negotiations, and the fact that the President campaigned against middleclass tax increases, as well as insurance mandates as a candidate, both in the primary against Clinton, and the general against McCain. He AND his party will lose significant political capital when the details of this legislation finally are revealed. It seems that the biggest lesson that the President should have learned from his predecessors is the lesson that Pres. George H.W. Bush learned, when the Clinton campaign called him out on "ITS THE ECONOMY STUPID"!! Our economy, i.e. citizens (not Wall St), can not wait. Paper victories in Congress, or the DOW, are meaningless to the scores of people who are jobless, sick, and without hope. Washington, it seems, is still too insulationed to notice.

Posted by: jdm58 | January 14, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Progressive Liberals Creating a Diabolical Society:
Also google Boston Children's Hospital Sex Change Clinic
Also Dawn Stefanowicz Out from Under
Also You're Teaching My Child What?
Also Planned Parenthood as this organization goes into the Public Schools and gives young girls low dose birth control pills so they become pregnant, then they take them for an abortion, many times without the parents permission

Posted by: boski66 | January 14, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

It would seem that many in the US believe that POTUS is either a "socialist or a fool"!
Obama attempts to bring a broader health system to carry more citizens into a better future. For to long and Bush jnr was at his best when doing less to assist the American people. He had no style or sense of what was needed by 10's of millions of citizens! He catered for the less than one percent and look where it got the US of A....

Could be your third continental war will be a Russian style affair?

Posted by: porpie9254 | January 14, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

The Australian single-payer system was controversial when introduced by it rapidly became very popular after its introduction. The conservatives failed again and again to develop a coherent alternative (which cost them electorally) eventually they gave up and supported it. See my analysis here:

Posted by: GeoffRobinson1 | January 14, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Forget the republicans and do it. While you are killing time the repubs and their big backers {THE INS. CO'S} are spending about 2 million dollars a week trying to tell people that have no insurance that they do not want any.

Posted by: SWAMPYPD | January 14, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

wouldn't it be ironic if Kennedy's seat ends up dooming reform?

Posted by: visionbrkr | January 15, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

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