Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Polls and Health Care

The health care debate? I'd love to avoid this one, what with all the town halls and screaming and lies and damn lies and occasional statistics, but here I am, writing about it.

So I'm skimming the polls about health care and a couple of them stick out for lots of -- as you'll see -- obvious reasons.

Here they are:
  • Fox News has polls that show in July, 36 percent, and in August, 34 percent, favor health care reform legislation.
  • CNN has polls that show in June, 51 percent, and in July/August, 50 percent favor health care reform legislation.

When attempts to find out what people think turn out so differently, we often look at how the sample was drawn or how the questions were asked. I've little time to get into the sampling thing (but it looks okay), so let's look at the questions.
CNN: "From everything you have heard or read so far, do you favor or oppose Barack Obama's plan to reform health care?"

"Based on what you know about the health care reform legislation being considered right now, do you favor or oppose the plan?"
No real difference that I can see, which is troubling. Is it coincidence that FOX's poll seems negative and CNN's poll seems positive toward health care reform? I dunno, but I'd love to see the order of the questions -- what came before these and how they may have primed the responses. There's something fishy here, on one side or the other.

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