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November 26, 2007

A Few Survey Tidbits on Hillarycare II

Public Opinion Strategies last month released some survey findings on Senator Hillary's health care proposals. A few excerpts:

1. 17 percent favor the proposal, 27 percent oppose it, and 56 percent have no opinion.

2. Among those who have heard "a lot" about it, 30 percent favor it, 47 percent oppose it, and 24 percent have no opinion.

3. Democrats favor it by 33 percent to 4 percent, with 62 percent offering no opinion. Republicans oppose it by 55 percent to 2 percent, with 43 percent offering no opinion. Independents oppose it by 26 percent to 9 percent, with 65 percent having no opinion.

So: One obvious inference is that relatively few are paying attention, and their eventual views are yet to be revealed. But the larger question is why the Hillary campaign is making so much of the health care issue; it looks very risky for them at best.

One answer is that they believe that they can change the polls as the campaign moves on. Are Hillary's political skills that fine? I am moved to doubt, but if I were smart, I'd be wealthy. Another is that they released their plan without a good sense of how it would be received, at least in early soundings. And, who knows? Maybe their focus groups were bad even by focus-group standards.

A third is that such general polls are irrelevant; perhaps among those voters who care deeply about health care as a policy/political issue---particularly in terms of the Democratic primary race---Hillarycare is a winner in early poll findings. This third hypothesis must be correct at least in part. A fourth is that the Hillary camp comprises idealists: Polls, schmolls, these are their principles and they will stand their ground. Oh, please...

An alternative is the Groucho Marx stance: These are their principles, and if others dislike them, they've got some more, to be revealed as the campaign unfolds. Anyway, we shall see. And people wonder why we view the Beltway game as so much fun.

Posted by Benjamin Zycher at November 26, 2007 05:13 PM

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