In our most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll respondents were asked:
"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)?"
Fifty one percent said they preferred the public option; 37 percent said they preferred a bill with some support from Republicans in Congress. Six percent said neither and seven percent expressed no opinion.
Many of the polls that they say is proof that the majority of Americans want the current health plan with the public option fail to ask about the potential consequences of such a massive government program, ie bankrupting the country. All they tend to ask about is the their feelings on the public option in more general terms like: Do you like the idea of the public option?
In my post a few days ago, I brought up an interview done with Sen. Mary Landrieu where she hit this problem right on the head:
Asked about polls showing public support for a government plan, Landrieu said the questions should be phrased differently."
I think if you asked, do you want a public option but it would force the government to go bankrupt, people would say no," she said.
I know that I’ve used that quote twice, now, but it just seemed so perfect for this post, as well. It is a good example of the type of polls that Sen. Landrieu and I were talking about yesterday.
To me, this poll shows that people definitely want something done, and they don't care about the partisan squabbling. It doesn't necessarily mean that they want the public option at all costs.