Have you heard the one about how “most Americans are against health insurance reform (HIR)”. When you hear this endless repeated by Republicans and right-wing radio and television pundits, know this:
THEY ARE LYING.
The Republicans and anti-HIR forces have spent months demonizing this legislation to the point that they have effectively freaked people out about it. But when you poll people on the individual elements like the Kaiser Family Research Center did, the results are stunning. As you can see in this graph from their report (pdf) large majorities of Americans support the individual elements of the bills.
They also found that 58% of Americans would be “disappointed” or “angry” if Congress doesn’t pass HIR legislation.
A Newsweek poll found similar results. Even when they considered the legislation as a whole, more Americans supported the legislation than didn’t (48% to 43%). But when you break it down into its individual components, all of which are in the reform package, the results show Americans want this reform, often by large margins.
One more thing to consider: when you ask Americans “do you like the current legislation being considered by Congress”, you will, of course, get a group on the right that simply do NOT want this legislation to pass because they think it goes too far (based on the ridiculous notion that it’s a “Big Government take-over of health care”). However, you will also get a not-insignificant group from the left that doesn’t like it either. Why? Because they think it does not go far enough. Add the two groups together and it’s not surprising that the aggregate numbers seem to indicate that “most Americans are against health insurance reform (HIR)”. That is, however, simply not the case.
And when Mitch McConnell tosses around his numbers, keep in mind that he is using numbers obtained by averaging a whole bunch of different polls together. Because he did that, as the Associated Press reported, his claim is “dubious”:
McConnell’s device of averaging polls to come up with a precise result is dubious. Because polls are often taken at different times, with different sample sizes, margins of error and ways of wording their questions, combining them may not yield a valid result. McConnell aides cited CNN, NPR and Quinnipiac polls taken at various times in January.
The Republican leader and others on his side ignored a variety of findings in recent surveys, such as the one suggesting most people want Washington to act on rising medical costs and shrinking coverage — and trust Obama and the Democrats more than Republicans to do it.
I’m just sayin’…