WaPo Hypes Non Existent Public Option Bounce
An October 20th The Washington Post headline blares: Public Option Gains Support: Clear Majority Now Backs Plan. The first para of the Dan Balz and Jon Cohen article reports: “A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that support for a government-run health-care plan to compete with private insurers has rebounded from its summertime lows and wins clear majority support from the public.”
So the public option has “rebounded” from “summertime lows” in the minds of the America public. How “low” did it go? How big is this rebound. It must be a huge swing to justify this headline.
But you have to read until well past the jump, until the eighth paragraph, before learning: “On the issue that has been perhaps the most pronounced flash point in the national debate, 57 percent of all Americans now favor a public insurance option, while 40 percent oppose it. Support has risen since mid-August, when a bare majority, 52 percent, said they favored it. (In a June Post-ABC poll, support was 62 percent.)” Linking to the actual poll we find further that the same exact poll with the same exact wording found 55% favored the public option just last month.
So to recap: according to the Post, a majority of Americans have always supported the public option and the percentage that say that they do rose from 55% last month to 57% this month. The margin of error on a poll with 1,000 respondents (this poll had 1,004) is 3%. So the 2% rise the Post calls a rebound isn’t even statistically significant.