When it comes to health care reform, there has been no shortage of public opinion polls. Rasmussen Reports publishes a new feeler study every week, while the Kaiser Family Foundation conducts a new study every month. And while these surveys can often be a wonderful indicator of public opinion, at times they simply make things even more unclear.
Take, for example, the recent controversy surrounding a poll on FoxBusiness.com. The poll invited readers to choose from three options expressing their feelings on health reform – but none of those options included being in favor of the bill. Even for Fox News, a site known for its reliance on right-leaning statistics, this seems to be a bit of a stretch.
Then there are the times when two different surveys offer competing results. A recent USA Today/Gallup poll showed that 49 percent of Americans think it’s “a good thing” that Congress passed the health reform bill. Half described their reaction using positive words, such as “enthusiastic” or “pleased,” while about four in ten used negative words such as “disappointed” and “angry.” In fact, in that survey, 48 percent called the bill a good first step that should be followed by more action on health care.
However, a Bloomberg poll conducted around the same time by Selzer & Co. found that 50 percent opposed the measure Congress passed, and 39 percent were in favor.