WaPo Poll: 52% Still Support Public Option

After months of attacks from the Right and perhaps the most inept political performance by a White House in recent memory, the public option still garners majority support in the country, according to a WaPo poll (a SUSA poll has approval at 77%, proving yet again that wording is everything in polling):

52 percent of Americans said they favor the government's creation of a new health insurance plan to compete with private insurers, while 46 percent are opposed. That is a big shift from late June, when 62 percent backed the notion and 33 percent opposed it.

A President with a 57% approval rating (according to the WaPo poll) compared to a 21% approval rate for Congressional Republicans, should be able to enact a policy he says he favors and which is supported by 52% of the electorate. If he can't, that means he really is not in favor of it or he is too incompetent politically to get it done.

Speaking for me only

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    what do we think about this (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 09:26:18 AM EST
    I just put this in the open but it sounds encouraging to me:

    Health 'Co-ops' Are Government Care

    The Democrats' latest proposal bears no resemblance to the voluntary organizations that are known as cooperatives.

    Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) has listed three conditions it needs to meet.

    Mr. Schumer's conditions are a national structure, federal financing, and a ban on federal appointees who have ties to the insurance industry. This "co-op" would be federally controlled, federally funded, and federally staffed. Expressing his opposition to smaller organizations and his demand for a national "co-op," Mr. Schumer says, "It has to have clout; it has to be large." He adds, "There would at least be one national model that could go all over the country," which would require "a large infusion of federal dollars."

    Mr. Leavitt, former secretary of Health and Human Services (2005-2009) goes on to say:

    I'm quite familiar with real co-ops. As a teenager, I filled my family's tractor with fuel purchased at a farmer's co-op, which was organized by local people to solve a common problem. My family got its electricity from a rural electric co-op. I was later a director of an "insurance reciprocal," a form of a co-op. Co-ops are a part of American culture: people uniting to solve common problems. What the Democrats are proposing bears little resemblance to this.

    if the WSJ is this worried is that reason to be hopeful?

    I think Baucus's idea of co-ops (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by ruffian on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 09:40:46 AM EST
    and Shumer's are two different things. I am with firedoglake in this post in believing that Baucus's co-ops do not meet the standard of a robust public option (however hazy a term that is).

    Shumer's sounds like more what I have in mind.


    I think I can do a national co-op too (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 09:47:04 AM EST
    with no appointees that the insurance companies can buy out.

    A national co-op that has to be (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by Anne on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:35:15 AM EST
    open to anyone who wants to enroll, as opposed to a "public" option that restricts who can and cannot participate.

    Having any kind of national or public plan that is not open to all is like having a public transportation system you are prohibited from using if you already own a car.


    I have to keep remembering (none / 0) (#38)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:40:04 AM EST
    what BTD is trying to teach about negotiating.  It has miffed me a bit that Tricare can be substandard care sometimes and that I might not be able to participate in a better option but then my soul kicks in and says, "But it is doubtful you will die because of Tricare.  You are noisy, you fight...other Americans out there are dying because the whole system is geared to deny care to increase profits so shut up and get something that ends this insanity."  I'm a terrible negotiator.

    You gotta love Schumer (5.00 / 4) (#28)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:11:29 AM EST
    He slaps the label "coops" on what is basically a public option.

    Good to see at least someone in DC on the Dem side knows how to play the game.


    thank you (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:17:45 AM EST
    thats exactly what I thought it sounded like.

    Smart (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by andgarden on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:36:03 AM EST
    And that's just the Senate version!

    Schumer making co-ops more palatable (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:54:24 AM EST
    Not sure convincing people to abandon their line in the sand on public options is a good thing.

    Quite the masses by making them think that a co-op is the same as a Robust public option and then take the chance that what we actually get is the Baucus/Grassley version of a co-op (small state entities that can't compete).

    My line in the sand is still a Robust unrestricted public option.


    If they let everyone buy into Medicare (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by andgarden on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 11:04:03 AM EST
    and all it a "co-op," I'm fine with that.

    Don't think you understood (none / 0) (#47)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 11:30:23 AM EST
    my point.

    Once you convince enough people that a co-op is the same as Medicare for All and they stop fighting for real health care, you take the chance that the co-op you will actually receive is the Baucus/Grassley one that is so limited in scope it does nothing  to limit the escalating premium increases accompanied by reduction in coverage SOP of the insurance industry. Do you actually think that the Republicans and the conservative Dems are going to go along with the Schumer model of a co-op any more than they are a real public option?

    Now is the time for everyone who wants real health care reform to stand firm on their position of a real public option. The Dems are being to offer us other alternatives rather than continuing to give more and more away to conservatives and the insurance industry.  


    Schumer is working the Senate (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by andgarden on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 11:32:40 AM EST
    If what comes out of the Senate is stronger, so much the better.

    Schumer smells blood (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by hookfan on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 11:51:32 AM EST
    Perhaps the gang has gone too far for too long. And now pushback comes. Strangely, this working class underbusser is in agreement with you. I would like to see something like this (with more detail) pass the Senate and be reconciled with the house progressive public option bills.
       Perhaps the term "public option" has become a lightening rod for the senate dem conservatives, and  "coop" regardless of content (it could be more public than the "public option" and more universal than "universal") helps then save face.

    Inconsistency (none / 0) (#51)
    by waldenpond on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 11:52:49 AM EST
    Notice how the Republicans want private insurance to bought over state lines, but they demand a public option or co-op be state bound.

    Yea...52% support it even after (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 09:27:42 AM EST
    the disinformation campaign from Hades!  I wonder how many folks would support it if they simply had to contend with facts and not fictions?  At the end of the day, if we win this fight, I'm going to have to take a good look at who in the blogosphere fought for the heartbeat of America and who tried to cut our throats.  This issue is literally the heartbeat of America, this isn't something you want to be on the wrong side of because nobody will forget that any easier than if you were a cheerleader for and on the wrong side of the Iraq War.

    "If he can't . . . (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 09:31:09 AM EST
    . . . that means he really is not in favor of it or he is too incompetent politically to get it done."

    we dont really think he is politically incompetent do we?

    Somehow, I have a problem (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by prittfumes on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 09:47:23 AM EST
    associating political incompetency with the man who came out of nowhere to win the White House.

    Do you? (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:09:50 AM EST
    There is competence for winning elections and competence for winnig polciy fights in the governance process.

    Not the same thing.


    he managed to get (none / 0) (#33)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:19:06 AM EST
    the bank and auto bailouts through quick enough

    Interestingly (none / 0) (#43)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 11:14:37 AM EST
    TARP was passed when Bush was President.

    As for the auto bailout, he did get that through, but the opposition was fairly perfunctory.


    TARP may have been passed when (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Anne on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 01:23:08 PM EST
    Bush was president, but Obama was whipping it like a madman for the votes needed for passage.

    Or like someone who knew he wanted the financial community/lobbyists/big money boyz on his side.

    The bonanza he seems to be whipping for the insurance industry via health "insurance" reform is more of the same; make sure the monetary pipeline is directed at Democrats, and the heck with actual policy.

    Glenn says it better than I do today:

    The only calculation that matters is maximizing political power.  The only "change" that's meaningful is converting more Republican seats into Democratic ones.  A legislative "win" is determined by whether Democrats can claim victory, not by whether anything constructive was achieved.  The smart approach is to serve and thus curry favor with the most powerful corporate factions, not change the rules to make them less powerful.  The primary tactic of Democrats should be to be more indispensable to corporate interests so as to deny the GOP that money and instead direct it to Democrats.  The overriding strategy is to scorn progressives while keeping them in their place and then expand the party by making it more conservative and more reliant on Blue Dogs. Democrats should replicate Republican policies on Terrorism and national security -- not abandon them -- in order to remove that issue as a political weapon.

    Emphasis is mine.


    My recollection (none / 0) (#45)
    by andgarden on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 11:16:03 AM EST
    is that the auto bailout was funded through TARP.

    passed by Bush (none / 0) (#66)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 01:19:25 PM EST
    but Obama got them to hand out the second 700 billion.
    and no the auto bail out was the sequel to TARP

    No argument from me there. (none / 0) (#59)
    by prittfumes on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 12:43:53 PM EST
    The political competence required to win an election for president from where Obama started is not the same thing as having the ability to push through his policy initiatives while governing. My response was to your use of the specific phrase "too incompetent politically".

    Hmmm (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:16:40 AM EST
    Axelrod is certainly effective at running campaigns, but he doesn't run the country (or does he).

    It's going to pass (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by andgarden on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 09:34:41 AM EST
    if the Congressional Dems keep their nerve. That's where we come in.

    I saw Wiener last night (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:07:26 AM EST
    he looked pretty nervey to me.  I dont think him and his ilk are going to give an inch.

    And I need this badly (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 09:39:10 AM EST
    You have decent analysis on voting, procedure, and issues in play.  Nobody is 100% but I'll gamble on your word, the odds tend to be pretty good.

    Oy (none / 0) (#12)
    by andgarden on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 09:40:33 AM EST
    There's a reason I don't play Monopoly anymore. . .

    Slam Dunk Now! (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:07:53 AM EST
    The poll just amplifies the concern of the American people over HCR. The right has thrown everything they have at defeating it, while the administration has done everything it could to kill it. And now that the dust is settling, the majority of American's still want it.

    If Obama can't pull it off now he should buy GWB's old ranch in Crawford and learn how to clear brush.

    god I hate Peggy Noonan (none / 0) (#1)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 09:20:40 AM EST
    Pull the Plug on ObamaCare

    she closes her screed with this:

    "Never let a good crisis go to waste," the only blazingly memorable phrase to be uttered in the new era.

    as if she is quoting Rahm but of course never see any reason to point out Rahm was quoting Andrew Card.

    Stick to the topic of the post please (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 09:24:12 AM EST
    You in particular have a very bad habit of ignoring the post to drop in whatever you want.

    Stop it.


    sorry (none / 0) (#5)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 09:27:06 AM EST
    I thought I was being on topic

    Peggy Noonan is rarely relevant (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 09:31:53 AM EST
    and in this case her rantings are not germane to the topic at hand - which is the public's view on the public option and what Obama can do.

    this is what she thinks the public view is (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 09:49:29 AM EST
    The president's health-care plan is not clear, and I mean that not only in the sense of "he hasn't told us his plan." I mean it in terms of the voodoo phrases, this gobbledygook, this secret language of government that no one understands--"single payer," "public option," "insurance marketplace exchange." No one understands what this stuff means, nobody normal.

    to some extent I have to agree.  every time I see the president on TV he is not saying what IS is the plan but what IS NOT in the plan.


    Well (none / 0) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 09:53:47 AM EST
    You did not quote that part, did you?

    Well, she's right on this: (none / 0) (#18)
    by MyLeftMind on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 09:55:53 AM EST
    "He'll have a Republican congress soon enough." But she's crazy to say Obama should back off from health care reform. The resistance to this bill is because people don't trust our government to do what's right, and that's a good assumption IMO.

    All Obama has to do now is:

    1. Make sure the bill is actually beneficial to those of us who will have to pay for it. (That would be the middle class, not the top 1% wage earners as Obama claims.) More people would favor the public option if they viewed it as a way to reduce the huge siphoning off of funds from big pharma and the insurance industry.

    2. Explain to the public why it'll help them. Moderates and the right wing against this reform see it as a new welfare program that will help the poor and the rich, at the expense of regular working Americans. If that model changes, Obama can easily convince moderates that reform is in their best interests.

    exactly (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 09:59:25 AM EST
    when it works he will be a hero.  now lets see if he does it.

    He won't ever face a GOP Congress imo (none / 0) (#29)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:12:04 AM EST
    I really think (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:16:25 AM EST
    that depends on what happens in the next few weeks.

    personally I think it is far from impossible.

    and while "scrupulously avoided any mention that Democratic control of the House"

    Charlie Cook says:

    Reviewing recent polling and the 2010 election landscape, Cook can envision a scenario in which Democratic House losses could exceed 20 seats.

    "These data confirm anecdotal evidence, and our own view, that the situation this summer has slipped completely out of control for President Obama and Congressional Democrats

    He seems unable to close the deal (none / 0) (#3)
    by Saul on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 09:25:44 AM EST
    to the that majority.  FDR had great opposition from his own party on SS.  Some of his comrades wanted a water down version.  Yet FDR kept saying he would refuse to sign a water down version.  Some how his insistence and not backing down got what he wanted.

    As Arianan said Obamam is the pipe piper but begins to compromise before the fight starts.

    Krugman has an article on Obama trust problem  

    R2K has the President down 4 this week (none / 0) (#11)
    by andgarden on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 09:39:47 AM EST
    but I'm not really worried about the downward trend so much. He's still well above what he got last November, and if you try to enact good policy, people who disagree with you are going to disapprove.

    Of course ... (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 11:32:39 AM EST
    one expects some drop when battling for important legislation. And most of the drop is among independents who tend to be the most skeptical of the process of governing.

    But it's a manageable drop.

    If HCR passes with the "public option" he should regain at least half of the drop the week it passes.  And, depending on how the post-signing period is handled, maybe more than that.

    The long term impact will be dependent on how well the policy works.


    LAT politics blog predicts the President's (none / 0) (#56)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 12:31:38 PM EST
    approval rating will rise because he'll be on vacation starting today.  Too much exposure.

    Support is falling (none / 0) (#20)
    by me only on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:00:57 AM EST
    Finishing the quote:

    That is a big shift from late June, when 62 percent backed the notion and 33 percent opposed it.

    If the trend continues it appears not passing a public option would be the politically competent thing to do.

    The biggest drop is from political independents from 66% to 51%.

    Heh (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:08:49 AM EST
    Funny as sh*t.

    After the worst defense of it in history and the most vicious attacks on it, the public option, ACCORDING TO THIS POLL (others have it as high as 77%) still is supported by the majority of Americans and you think that means it shopuld be dropped.

    You must work at the WHite House. That is where strategic brilliance of this magnitude has been found so far.

    Funny as sh*t.


    No, I think it should be (none / 0) (#52)
    by me only on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 11:55:01 AM EST
    dropped because I can't stand the whole idea of it.  As public opinion wavers that just supports my viewpoint.

    The 77% support numbers are much older polls.  A recent NBC poll found:

    And according to a brand-new NBC News poll, 47% of Americans -- a plurality -- oppose the public plan, versus 43% who support it.

    I don't work at the White House.  I couldn't.  Lying is not something I am good at.


    But you are not well informed (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 12:05:14 PM EST
    That fits the WH to a tee right now.

    Keep up (none / 0) (#53)
    by andgarden on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 12:02:37 PM EST
    The public option gets solid majority support even now.

    614 out of 1200 (none / 0) (#60)
    by coast on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 12:45:04 PM EST
    is considered a solid majority?

    Do you know anything about polling (none / 0) (#61)
    by andgarden on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 12:48:11 PM EST
    or political polarization?

    No (none / 0) (#62)
    by coast on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 12:50:12 PM EST
    but is that needed to understand that 614 out of 1200 is not a solid majority?

    Do you have a reading disability? (none / 0) (#63)
    by andgarden on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 12:52:08 PM EST
    Look at the poll again.

    Sorry (none / 0) (#64)
    by coast on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 01:17:27 PM EST
    I was referencing questions 5, 6 and 7 which are specific to "Obama's Plan", and not Question 2 which ask the general question of wanting a choice.

    Obviously people want a choice that they feel will reduce their cost. But this can't be taken as approval of the "public option" that is still be negotiated.  Its simply a general statement of approval for a concept.

    Polling on how we get there would be much more beneficial.


    Nonsense (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by andgarden on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 01:18:56 PM EST
    Nobody can be bothered to pay attention to how we get there. They just want something that works.

    No, the 77% is from a new poll (none / 0) (#57)
    by Cream City on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 12:34:25 PM EST
    just released yesterday by Survey USA.  Most of us apparently know that, but it's just irksome to see such misinformation -- or disinformation? -- stand without correction for the record.

    Just think (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Steve M on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:10:48 AM EST
    in another year, negative 324% of Americans will support the public option, by process of extrapolation.

    thats because Piggy Noonan is right (none / 0) (#21)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:05:40 AM EST
    at least to the extent that the only information most people are getting is from the right wing hate/noise machine.

    and whos fault is that?

    if this stuff was explained - which, Im sorry, I think he is completely capable of doing if he wanted - those numbers would change.


    those numbers will go up (none / 0) (#24)
    by CST on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:08:29 AM EST
    as soon as the thing is actually passed and people aren't "forced" into gov't insurance

    I believe its more correct to (none / 0) (#39)
    by coast on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:42:33 AM EST
    say that the people polled favor the creation of an insurance plan that competes with the private sector.  I would not say they are in favor of a "public option", considering no one know what a "public option" means since it has not been defined.  Unless there is a finalized bill out there that I'm not aware of.

    A public option (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Steve M on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:49:40 AM EST
    means an insurance plan that competes with the private sector.

    Devil is in the details (none / 0) (#44)
    by coast on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 11:15:05 AM EST
    So this option will be open to all?  It will not be subsidized by the government?  It won't be able to make special deals with suppliers?

    I don't believe these details, or many others, have been established, which means we don't know what they mean by "public option" except the general concept which you have stated above.

    The poll simply shows that people want something that they believe will bring down their cost.  Who wouldn't want that?  So why only 52% in favor of something that should help them out?  Because no one can sit down simply explain how this is going to work.


    Indeed (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Steve M on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 11:20:05 AM EST
    Some people think the public option will bring down costs, some people don't, and that is one of the principal factors that accounts for the polling results.  But I'd rather have a majority who sees it my way than the reverse.

    You're right that this poll addresses only a general concept, as opposed to the wonky details of a specific plan, but the idea that you can ever poll the country on the wonky details and get any kind of meaningful result is a pipe dream.  Politics and the process of mustering public support are about broad principles and values, not getting 300 million Americans to buy into a specific reimbursement rate.


    Agreed (none / 0) (#58)
    by coast on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 12:36:24 PM EST
    Once again BTD confuses (none / 0) (#55)
    by Slado on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 12:06:37 PM EST
    support for a "public plan" for support for democrats version of the "public plan".

    Once people find out it isn't affordable, won't help insure all the uninsured etc... etc... the support fails.

    Until Obama says what he is exactly for and keeps his trust in the democratic congress (whose polls are as bad a republicans) he will continue to loose.

    If it was that easy BTD it would have happened already.

    Its got to be a bit disheartening (none / 0) (#68)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 02:23:54 PM EST
    to be a GOP flack with the breadth of recent polling- your killing an issue, driving down the President, whipping your base into a frenzy and yet your still at and/or near all-time lows in Party identification and approval, its almost like you spent the better part of a decade systematically abusing the Public Trust and now even if you discredit your opposition you still don't go up-- you just bring them down to your level.

    No. 1 (none / 0) (#69)
    by pluege on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 04:00:00 PM EST
    If he can't, that means he really is not in favor of it...