Polls can be manipulated to get the results you want. It all depends on the questions you ask. And often its a matter of asking incomplete questions or not clarifying what it is that people are actually saying. Such is the case with support for the Affordable Care Act. Republicans love to call it Obamacare so that Republicans who don’t like Obama will be against it, even through it was the US Congress not President Obama who passed the legislation. But their strategy is not working as a close analysis of polling shows.
Charles M Blow in the New York Times in an article entitled Kamikaze Congress points out how right wing Tea Party Republicans in the US House continue their relentless drive to try to undo the Affordable Care Act as if a majority of Americans oppose it.This is their strategy:
Delay and defund. And default.
That is the House Republicans’ brilliant plan in their last-ditch effort to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act. It is a plan that threatens to grind the government to a halt and wreak havoc on the economy.
If they can’t take over Washington, they’ll shut it down. It’s their way or no way. All or nothing.
This is what has become of a party hijacked by zealots.
The problem is that the majority of Americans do not support what they are trying to do. Republicans seriously misread the polling data and the American public. And it all has to do with understanding the actual polling data.
Tea Party Republicans in the House are blinded by their hatred of President Obama and thus continue their unrelenting drive to try to deny him any victory – having voted some 42 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
The problem is as Blow points out:
Some of them twist poll results to buttress their bitterness. They point to polls showing that most Americans opposed the law as fuel for their fight. What they neglect to reveal is that a sizable portion of those who opposed the law do so because they don’t think it goes far enough, not because it goes too far. A May CNN/ORC poll found that 43 percent of Americans favored the law while 54 percent opposed it. But it also found that of those polled, 16 percent opposed the law because they thought that it wasn’t liberal enough. Put another way, 59 percent of Americans support the law or want it to be more liberal.
Furthermore, a poll released this week by the Pew Research Center found that of the 53 percent of Americans who said they disapproved of the law, the percentage who want elected officials who oppose the law to try to make it work as well as possible was larger than the percentage who wanted them to try to make it fail.
The American people are not on the far right’s side in battle. House Republicans are on a quixotic mission.
These results are significant and point out how polling can be used to manipulate and misinterpret what it is the public actually believes. There are many of us, including me, who believe the law does not go far enough. That should not be falsely interpreted as our wanting to see the Affordable Care Act repealed. Instead we are pushing for a better system, like a single payer system or expanding Medicare to cover everyone, so that we can remove the money that goes to pay corporate healthcare executives and billing companies and others, and put it toward actually providing healthcare at a much cheaper cost, like many other European Countries currently do.
As PBS points out in “Health Costs: How the US Compares to Other Countries”
$8,233 per year? That’s how much the U.S. spends per person.
That figure is more than two-and-a-half times more than most developed nations in the world, including relatively rich European countries like France, Sweden and the United Kingdom. On a more global scale, it means U.S. health care costs now eat up 17.6 percent of GDP.
We can do better. Going backward like Tea Party zealots in the US House of Representatives propose is a losing proposition.