Saturday, February 20, 2010

Push Poll: Newsweek Sells ObamaCare to 80 People

In a poll conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, Newsweek found that American adults still oppose ObamaCare by margin of 49% to 40%. No surprise there.

Here's what's interesting:

Through the power of persuasive telemarketing, Newsweek was able to tip the scales in favor of ObamaCare by focusing on relatively popular features of the Democrats' health care legislation.

Here's how they did it...

After asking respondents point blank whether they favor or oppose ObamaCare, Newsweek's pollster provided the respondents with warm and fuzzy descriptions of some of the Democrat's health care proposals (much of the wording ripped straight from the White House website). Their language resonated quite well:
  • Preventing insurance companies from dropping coverage when people are sick ― 59% approved
  • Requiring health insurance companies to cover anyone who applies, even if they have a pre-existing medical condition ― 76% approved
  • Creating a public health insurance option to compete with private plans ― 50% approved
  • Health insurance for all Americans, with government help for those who can’t afford it ― 59% approved
  • Requiring most businesses to offer health insurance to their employees, with tax incentives for small business owners to do so ― 75% approved
  • Creating a new insurance marketplace that allows people without health insurance to compare plans and buy insurance at competitive rates ― 81% approved
Despite the Democrats' Newsweek's efforts to provide innocuous descriptions of each ObamaCare proposal, two of the eight proposals marketed to the respondants were decidedly unpopular:
  • If health coverage is required for everyone, imposing fines on individuals who don’t obtain ― only 28% approved
  • Imposing a tax on insurers who offer the most expensive health plans, the so-called Cadillac plans, to help pay for health care reform ― only 34% approved
But many of the most intensely controversial features of ObamaCare were left unmentioned. There was no mention of the Cornhusker kickback, the Louisiana purchase, jail time for people who fail to comply with the individual mandate, years of new taxation before benefits kick in, increased political control of medical decisions, or the real possibility of loss of private insurance for millions of Americans.

After describing ObamaCare in terms to which most respondents reacted favorably, Newsweek's interviewers urged the participants to reconsider their opinion of the Democrats' plan:

Now please think about the proposals I just described to you. ALL of these proposals are included in Barack Obama’s health care reform plan. Having heard these details, what is your OVERALL opinion of Obama’s plan – do you favor it or oppose it?

[emphasis not added]

Newsweek's marketing effort was successful. With a net shift of about 80 of the 1,099 respondents, 48% supported the plan after hearing the sales pitch.

Newsweek's conclusion?

In the latest NEWSWEEK Poll, the majority of Americans are opposed to President Obama's health-care reform plan—until they learn the details.

But the Newsweek poll is flawed. The information they provided in their "interview" wasn't education, it was a sales pitch.


Update: Don Surber is thinking what I'm thinking.

Push poll — a way of advertising by asking questions in such a way as to get the respondent to change his or her mind, usually about a political candidate.

4 comments:

conservative generation said...

They were probably just trying to get them off the phone.

conservative generation said...

They also left out cuts to Medicare.

nacilbupera said...

Tomorrow Obamacare 2.0 is supposed to be released as Obama promised to continue pursuing in his Mess-of-the-Union speech. Reid is already threatening to use "reconciliation" to ram it through.

We are winning the battle to protect our healthcare from government intervention, but the game isn't over as you have shown us in Newsweek's push for it.

Bottom line: neither the public option nor the individual mandate are dead yet. Kill the bill.

Bungalow Bill said...

I knew something stunk about the Newsweek story. Thanks for doing the research.