So yesterday, we made noise about an NBC/WSJ poll the network was heavily publicizing. The numbers weren’t great for the public health insurance option compared to polls past which led us to do some digging. Turned out the pollsters dropped the only question that asked about giving everyone the choice of a public health insurance option.
NBC responded saying “choice” was a biased word (b/c who doesn’t like choice!?!) even though that is EXACTLY what the Obama/Democratic health care plan is – more choice.
Sam Stein did a great piece this morning about the Republican pollster behind the missing question:
The Republican half of the bipartisan team of pollsters behind a new, controversial poll on health care has longstanding ties to the health insurance industry that critics say biased the results.
This afternoon, he posts an even better follow-up:
NBC’s White House correspondent Chuck Todd told the Huffington Post on Wednesday afternoon that pollsters Bill McInturff and Peter Hart will ask respondents two questions regarding the public plan for their September study.
The first: “Would you favor or oppose creating a public health care plan administered by the federal government that would compete directly with private health insurance companies?”
The second: “In any health care proposal, how important do you feel it is to give people a choice of both a public plan administered by the federal government and a private plan for their health insurance?”
The inclusion of both questions should provide an interesting window into how slight changes in messaging can (or don’t) drastically alter the health care debate.
Winning is fun. I could get used to it.
UPDATE: Not so fast. One additional point from a veteran pollster: The second question should read, “”In any health care proposal, how important do you feel it is to give people a choice of both a public plan administered by the federal government and a private plan administered by big insurance companies for their health insurance?” That addition would make the question truly balanced and neutral.