Thursday, November 12, 2009


So does the new Quinnipiac poll contain a well-deserved warning to Joe Lieberman from Connecticut voters, as Firedoglake informs us? Oh, if only it that were the case -- but, as I'll explain below, it doesn't:

Q-Poll: Lieberman's Opposition to Public Option Not Popular In Connecticut

A new poll by Quinnipiac University is out, and it has less-than-stellar news for Joe Lieberman....

On the question, "Do you support or oppose giving people the option of being covered by a government health insurance plan that would compete with private plans?", 56% of Connecticut voters say "support" and only 37% "oppose." ...

This should really be hurting Lieberman in the eyes of Connecticut voters, right? Um, no. Check out Lieberman's approval ratings in Connecticut (click to enlarge):

His numbers are going up. They've actually improved a little since July, and a lot since last December; he had 38% approval and 54% disapproval then, and he's in positive territory now, 49%-44%.

And the poll was conducted November 3-8. Lieberman threatened to filibuster a bill with a public option on October 27. He denounced the public option again on November 1, on Face the Nation. So his opposition to this incredibly popular provision was abundantly clear just as the poll was taken -- it had just been in the headlines.

And yet the citizens of Connecticut apparently don't want to punish him for it.

It gets worse. Asked if Democrats should take away his Homeland Security Committee chairmanship if he filibusters healthcare, only 29% of respondents say yes; 62% say no -- and that includes 42% of Democrats.

Yes, 33% say opposition to the public option makes them less likely to vote for Joe, while 23% say it makes them more likely -- but compare that with his overall approval numbers and you have to wonder whether this is a strongly held opinion at all.

What does this mean? It means one of two things: either voters just aren't willing to vote based on issues they really care about ... or they support the public option but just don't care all that much about it; it's not a dealbreaker.

If it's the latter, then we've been deceiving ourselves -- we think strong majority support in a poll means passionate support, and it doesn't necessarily.

And if it's the former, well, why don't liberal and moderate voters care to fight for what they want, and punish politicians who fail to deliver it?

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