Listen Carefully, Folks: One Poll Does Not A Trend Make
The liberal blogosphere and even commenters who lean left here were trumpeting a new poll released earlier this week that showed the public in favor of the health care reforms passed Sunday after months and months of polling showing the public as consistently opposed. It is not surprising that the health care reforms would get a boost after non-stop, largely non-critical coverage from the traditional liberal media that featured the virtual deification of President Obama and Speaker Pelosi. It would have been a shock if there was no bump.
Nevertheless, CBS News released a poll today that shows that all the champagne bottle popping may have been a bit premature:
A CBS News poll released Wednesday finds that nearly two in three Americans want Republicans in Congress to continue to challenge parts of the health care reform bill.
…The poll finds that 62 percent want Congressional Republicans to keep challenging the bill, while 33 percent say they should not do so. Nearly nine in ten Republicans and two in three independents want the GOP to keep challenging. Even 41 percent of Democrats support continued challenges.
…[T]here was significant disapproval for the bill. Forty-six percent say they disapprove, including 32 percent who strongly disapprove. Those numbers have barely moved since before the bill was signed.
Americans also did not significantly change their views on the impact of the bill. Thirty percent still say it will make the health care system better, while 33 percent say it will make the system worse.
They have also held relatively firm in their perceptions of how the bill will effect them. Sixteen percent say the bill will “mostly help,” while 35 percent say it will “mostly hurt.”
Note that this poll was conducted post-passage, and think about this summary: a large majority want Republicans to challenge the bill. More voters than not disapprove of the bill, think it will make the system worse, and think it will hurt them personally.
That’s not an endorsement – not by the longest of shots.
What makes this poll more meaningful than the one showing health care reform favored? Nothing, if considered in isolation. However, this poll is much more consistent with a long line of polls stretching back months. It is, in other words, part of a trend, with the earlier poll an outlier.
Now, that could change – maybe there WAS a significant post-passage bump, and a new trend has begun, and it is THIS poll that will prove to be the outlier – but that’s speculation at this point. Further polling will confirm or deny the bounce. It’s a sure sign of partisanship, however, when a single poll is trumpeted and an ocean of contrary ones ignored.
I’ll keep an eye on further polling, and if a new course is indicated, I won’t shrink from acknowledging it…