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Pollster's response to my question

From Stefan Hankin, the president of Lincoln Park Strategies:

So here is my quick take on why these polls differ so much:

The problem with the two choice question is it forces respondents into a black or white choice where the shades of grey tend to hold the real truth. When you look at the polling that allows for more choices you see that there are definitely people in the "Repeal it" category and some in the "Leave it as is", but the largest number are in the middle who are not looking for wholesale repeal but are looking for improving the bill.

So if you go from a three or four choice question down to a two choice the folks in the middle have to make a decisions...which is closest to my own opinion? If you generally support the bill but want to see changes, are you closer to the repeal side or the keep it side? Arguably the people who want changes should move more towards repeal since that is technically more true since they do not support leaving it as is.

The other issue is that Base Republicans have a clear home in these questions, where as the swing voters and base Democrats have a less obvious choice.

What polling does show is that Independents out there are not begging for repeal. One example of this is in our post election poll we did with ThirdWay among 1,000 Switchers (Obama voters who voted for the GOP in 2010) and Droppers (Obama voters who stayed home in 2010), these Switchers who are the swing of the swing and gave the GOP their majority in the house are not looking for repeal. In fact just 26% in our poll support repeal, 48% want to see changes but not repeal and 22% want it to stay as is. The Droppers break out 14% repeal, 39% fix, 41% leave as is.

By Greg Sargent  | January 18, 2011; 4:34 PM ET
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