Monday, January 25, 2010

Notes on polling

Something I found at Ezra Klein's blog:




A note on polling concerning the Senate health reform bill currently sitting in purgatory awaiting the House to vote on it. Nate Silver at 538 looked at poll numbers back in December from the single poll that bothered to ask people opposed to the bill why they were opposed. It turns out a good number who said no when asked if they supported the bill did so because they wanted even more reform than the bill contained. When reporters or politicians cite the polling numbers, they tend to interpret all the no votes as votes against reform, which is not true. Some of those no votes are people who want more reform, and adding these numbers to the yes votes gives you a plurality in favor of reform.

Another post at 538 compares what people think is in the bill compared to what it actually contains. Turns out, it contains a lot of things people are in favor of, but that they aren't aware are in the bill. It also doesn't contain things (think death panels) that some people think are in the bill. Nate then estimates public support for the bill would be much higher if the public understood what is actually in the bill.

One more poll. Jonathan Cohn at The New Republic discusses the popularity of the Massachusetts health insurance plan. The Senate plan is very similar to the Massachusetts plan, only with some additional cost controls. It turns out that the Massachusetts plan is extremely popular. When Massachusetts residents were asked whether they wanted to repeal the health insurance reforms, 79% said no and 11% said yes.

If the House passes the Senate's bill, whether or not a followup reconciliation bill tweaks it, the new health insurance reality in the United States is likely to be very popular.

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