New SurveyUSA Poll Shows Support For Public Option Hasn’t Dipped

Chris Fitzgerald/

After months of public jousting and smears–and an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showing support for the public option had tanked–a new SurveyUSA poll shows that the public option still remains broadly popular.

Commissioned by MoveON, the survey asked 1200 adults how important they feel it is “to give people a choice of both a public plan administered by the federal government and a private plan for their health insurance?”

Fifty-eight percent of respondents said “extremely important.” Nineteen said “quite important”: a total of 77 percent. The rest of respondents said the choice of a public option was not important or weren’t sure.The NBC/WSJ poll asked “Would you favor or oppose creating a public health care plan administered by the federal government that would compete directly with private health insurance companies?” Forty-three percent favored, 48 opposed.

The proper conclusion to draw? Perhaps that Americans like the word choice more than they like the government creating things. Or perhaps that they don’t follow policy very closely. After all, despite broad support for the choice of a public option in the new SurveyUSA poll, 42 percent said they thought a public option would help ensure that all Americans receive coverage while 46 percent thought it was more likely that the public option would limit patients’ access to doctors.

Unsurprisingly, the poll also found that opinions about health care reform are intensely polarized. Though 51 percent said they favored Obama’s plan while 43 opposed, the supporters were extremely supportive, while the opponents were more extremely opposed. Seventy-nine percent of supporters “strongly favor” reform, while 86 percent of opponents “strongly oppose” it.

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