There’s little consensus among bloggers about trends in public opinion toward the health care overhaul bills.
Pollster.com’s Mark Blumethal takes a look at recent poll data and concludes, “Any way you slice it, there does appear to be a real tightening of opinion on health reform although as always, these results are snapshots and subject to change.”
The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan comments on a WSJ op-ed by poller Scott Rasmussen that argued polling showed health reform is unpopular. Sullivan thinks Rasmussen is correct, but adds a different vision of “reality” by saying, “And yet the latest YouGov poll, reflecting the direction of many others, now shows a majority favoring reform, 53 – 47, as I noted yesterday. And Pollster’s poll of polls, excluding Rasmussen’s outlier numbers, favoring the old, white and Republican, show a dramatic rise in support this past month, as the consequences of getting nothing at all begin to sink in.”
But The Atlantic’s Megan McArdle disgrees with Sullivan that Rasmussen’s polls are outliers, arguing: “Okay, first off: Rasmussen is an outlier on presidential approval, not on health care, where it has always been pretty much solidly middle of the pack, and occasionally kinder to the Democrats. The YouGov poll is an outlier. YouGov polls approval higher because it doesn’t offer a “don’t know” option, and people tend to be biased towards affirmative answers when they’re being polled.”
Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum thinks Pollster.com’s trends are correct. He tries to explain the shift: “What’s really important here, though, isn’t the magnitude of the change, but just the fact that the tide is shifting. This might have something to do with the recent summit and some of Obama’s more aggressive speechmaking recently, but my guess is that it mostly has to do with the fact that there’s an actual bill on the table now; Democrats have something concrete to sell; Republican obstructionism has been a little too screechy for a lot of independents lately; and, most important, it looks like we’re actually in the home stretch.”
In other news, the Congressional Budget Office released updated estimates for the Senate bill today (read CBO director Douglas Elmendorf on the estimates here), but the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein says while the bill is “a pretty good deal…it’s not a very well-understood deal.” According to Klein, voters don’t understand the portions of the bill that save money (like an excise task on high cost insurance plans) so “the projections that show the bill saving money don’t make much sense, and so voters don’t believe them.”
But Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey points out that the updated estimates don’t reflect Obama’s bill or the final package: “This isn’t the reconciliation parallel bill, of course, because as Nancy Pelosi notes, we haven’t seen that yet, and neither has the CBO. This recalculates the CBO’s findings from December, and now they see more federal spending in the first 10 years and slightly less deficit reduction.”