Following up on our previous charting of support for a public option, which almost exclusively covered July polling, we now look at surveys from the first three weeks of August. Support levels for the public option are depicted in the following diagram, which you can click to enlarge. Links to detailed reports of these individual polls can be found below in my entries from recent days.
The public option continues to hold its own pretty well, especially when the "choice" aspect of it is made clear in the wording of the question. Even in the Economist/You Gov poll, which as shown above registers the lowest level of support for the public option, it would take only one-third of the undecided switching to a position in favor to give the public option majority support.
From the perspective of any given Senator or Representative, however, the national numbers may not be as important as those in his or her own state or congresssional district. The latter, after all, are where the office-holder must seek re-election. Daily Kos, in association with the independent polling firm Research 2000, has been conducting surveys in the states and districts of Democrats who, in the eyes of many liberals, are not doing enough to achieve passage of a public option. Two such polls that have come out recently are for the state of Montana (whose Democratic Senator Max Baucus chairs the Finance Committee) and the Tennessee district of Representative Jim Cooper who now, as in 1994, appears lukewarm at best to the health care reform efforts of a Democratic president. Whereas a narrow plurality favors a public option in Montana, a large majority does so in Cooper's Tennessee district.