Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Right-wing pollster and frequent TV talking head Kellyanne Conway is upset:

The Washington Post poll is the latest example of a "public poll" in the past 2–3 weeks that curiously shows a growing number of Americans supportive of the "public option." AP and Gallup were others. This is agenda-driven polling.

The fact is: Asking an ignorant public about the "public option" is incomplete polling. It calls for a response to feel-good phraseology rather than a probing of underlying ideology. "Public option" in health care is not so different from "campaign-finance reform," "Violence against Women's Act," "revenue enhancements," and such.

Our side has not done enough to discredit and expose the positive-sounding "public option" ...

Interesting point ... um, except for one problem: The Post's actual poll questions didn't use the word "public" or "option." Here are the questions:

8. Would you support or oppose having the government create a new health insurance plan to compete with private health insurance plans? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?

9. (IF OPPOSE/NO OPINION FOR GOVERNMENT PLAN) What if this government-sponsored plan was run by state governments and was available only to people who did not have a choice of affordable private insurance? In that case would you support or oppose this idea?

10. Which of these would you prefer - (a plan that includes some form of government-sponsored health insurance for people who can't get affordable private insurance, but is approved without support from Republicans in Congress); or (a plan that is approved with support from Republicans in Congress, but does not include any form of government-sponsored health insurance for people who can't get affordable private insurance)?

And the AP/GfK poll (PDF) didn't ask about the public option in any way; it just asked, "In general, do you support, oppose or neither support nor oppose the health care reform plans being discussed in Congress?," then asked follow-ups about bipartisanship.

Of the three polls Conway mantions, only Gallup used the word "public" at all (but not "option") in the question red to respondents -- and its results show less-than-spectacular support for the public option:

But Kellyanne, please, be my guest. By all means continue to denounce this biased poll wording that doesn't exist. Demand the removal phrases that aren't there. Heaven knows I don't want to stop you from expending a lot of energy on this utterly futile pursuit.


And speaking of nonexistent problems, here, from Gallup, is yet another example of right-wingers denouncing a menace that doesn't actually rxist:

Yup -- a majority of gun owners think Barack Obama will try to ban all gun sales. (Other numbers: 62% of Republicans and Republican leaners believe this, as do 60% of conservatives.)

You know what? If Obama wins reelection, and it's December 2016 -- a month before the end of his second term, with a new president already elected, and no effort whatsoever having been made by the administration to ban guns over eight years -- and you ask this question again about Obama, I bet you'd still get GOP/conservative/gun owner majority support for the proposition that "Obama plans to ban guns."

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