Friday, January 7, 2011

With the just-sworn-in Republican majority in the U.S. House poised to pass a repeal of last year's health care reform legislation (such repeal being extremely unlikely to go any further, as the Democrats still control the Senate), Mark Blumenthal of Huffington Post/Pollster.com looks at recent months' polling on the topic of repeal.

Some of the issues addressed by Blumenthal seem inherently difficult to resolve, regardless of how people might have answered the survey questions. If, for example, respondents report favoring repeal of only part -- but not all -- of the reform law, what degree of endorsement does that convey for the total repeal the House GOP is apparently planning to offer. Polls whose questions do not distinguish full from partial repeal are even less informative.

More intriguing, in my view, were some seemingly unusual response patterns reviewed by Blumenthal, which were not necessarily inevitable. Based on cross-tabulations Blumenthal obtained from Gallup, "more than a quarter (26%) of those who said it was a 'good thing' that Congress passed health reform also said they 'favored' repeal. A smaller number (20%) of those who said they considered the passage of reform a 'bad thing' opposed a repeal."

For all of these reasons and others, Blumenthal concludes that "Attitudes about repealing the health reform law do not easily reduce to a single number. And support for an explicit repeal of all aspects of the law falls far short of a majority."

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