December 21, 2009 - From Politico - Mike Allen:
Categories: Polls , Public Option
Dem senators to get good polling news
A new polling memo offers encouraging news to Democratic senators as they embark on a high-stakes effort to sell health reform to voters following this week’s historic votes.
In a strategy memo to be provided to Democratic senators on Tuesday, Mark Mellman, CEO of The Mellman Group, reports that public polls are giving a distorted picture of the level of opposition to health-care reform. That’s because in many of these polls, “opponents” include people who think the current proposals do not go far enough.
"The individual elements of the legislation are very popular, as is the bill in total, when it is explained," Mellman writes. "Moreover, the public continues to trust Democrats and the President over Republicans to deal with the issue. The news media has recently highlighted polls showing double-digit margins in opposition to the current healthcare plan. But these cursory stories often neglect to mention two salient facts. First, these poll questions fail to give any content, any specific meaning to the reform proposal. … Focus group research makes clear that voters know little about the substance of the plan … Second, public poll analyses often ignore the fact that a chunk of opposition to the current plan comes from those who support reform, but would like to see Congress go further."
In a telephone interview, Mellman said: "There's still an education job that needs to be done."
Read Mellman’s four-page memo here. More highlights after the jump.
"The most popular provisions of the bill protect against insurance company abuses, expand coverage and make healthcare more affordable. … When the entire proposal is described to voters, they strongly favor healthcare reform Louisiana voters received this description of the bill:
"'This plan would require every American citizen to have health insurance and require large employers to provide coverage to their employees. It would require insurance companies to cover those with pre-existing conditions and prevent them from dropping coverage for people who get sick, while providing incentives for affordable preventive care. Individuals and small businesses that do not have coverage would be able to select a private insurance plan from a range of options sold on a National Insurance Exchange. Lower and middle income people would receive subsidies to help them afford insurance, while those individuals who like the coverage they already have will be able to keep their current plan.'
"After hearing these details Louisianans supported the bill 57% to 38%, with 43% strongly supporting reform. Another poll we conducted among senior voters (over 60) in Maine using a very similar description found 54% in favor with just 36% opposed. …
"Our polling shows that voters, even in the deep red state of Louisiana, overwhelmingly oppose using the filibuster to prevent a final vote. In general, the filibuster is an unpopular tool. After hearing a description, a majority (53%) oppose even allowing a filibuster, while 42% believe it should be permitted in the Senate. …
"Voters continue to trust Obama and Congressional Democrats more than Republicans on the issue of healthcare. Two recent polls conducted by the Washington Post and Quinnipiac report nearly identical numbers: 45% of the public trusts Obama more while 38% put more faith in Congressional Republicans (average of two polls)."