For a better browsing experience, please upgrade your browser.

FiveThirtyEight

Politics

Over at Firedoglake, Jane Hamsher cites a poll, commissioned by Research 2000 for the progressive activist organizations Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America:

Would you favor or oppose requiring all Americans to buy health insurance — the so-called mandate — even if they find insurance too expensive or do not want it?

FAVOR 38%
OPPOSE 51%
NOT SURE 11%

I’d also note that the wording of the question is the most charitable rendering the issue is ever likely to get.

Hamsher’s claim that “the wording of the question is the most charitable rendering the issue is ever likely to get” is a little audacious.

No, it isn’t.

Why not simply have the question say: “Would you favor or oppose requiring all Americans to buy health insurance?”. Or, “Would you favor or oppose requiring all Americans to buy health insurance or pay a fine?”. That would be a more charitable — and neutral — question.

It’s a bit redundant, rather, to emphasize the phrase “even if they find insurance too expensive or do not want it”. Particularly when that statement is not literally true. Rather, the Senate bill, as Jane’s colleague Jon Walker notes, would exempt individuals from having to buy insurance if the plans would constitute more than 8% of their income.

Or, if you want to provide more information to “help” the respondent come up with a response, why not mention the benefit of the mandate — that it’s necessary to keep premiums affordable in a world of guaranteed issue? Or, why not mention that the government will provide billions of dollars in assistance to low and medium income people to help them afford health insurance? Kaiser, for instance, does mention that in their poll, which has this far more charitable question:

Would you favor or oppose requiring all Americans to have health insurance, either from their employer or from another source, with financial help for those who can’t afford it?

That poll produces a dramatically different result: 66 percent in favor of the mandate and 31 percent opposed.

The goal, of course, is not to be charitable — it’s to be as fair as possible. Kaiser’s question, for my tastes, is somewhat too charitable to the pro-mandate side of the argument. And Hamsher’s, contra her claims, is a little too charitable to the opposition’s.

Filed under ,

comments Add Comment

Powered by WordPress.com VIP