Today’s AP-GfK Poll Shows Health Reform Still in the Tank

by John R. Graham

The Associated Press has engaged in a little journalistic malpractice in reporting the latest poll that it produces with GfK Roper.  According to reporter Alan Fram, “Obama is winning increased public approval for health care . . .

Well, no: In the actual poll, 41 percent of respondents reported “total support” to the question, “In general, do you support, oppose, or neither support nor oppose the health care reforms that were passed by Congress in March?” (p. 47), the same result as in the March poll. Plus, the shares of respondents who ”strongly support” versus “somewhat support” are within one percentage point of where they were in March.

To find the ”increased public support” that Mr. Fram reports, you have to go back to September 2009, when ”total support” was only 34 percent.  All the positive movement took place between September and October, after which it hovered around 40 percent until a significant bump to 45 percent in June 2010, now vanished.

On the other hand, the respondents who “strongly oppose” the so-called reform jumped from 29 percent to 35 percent over the same three months! Furthermore, to the question of how President Obama is “handling” health care (p. 21), those who “approve” have wobbled around 50 percent in the thirteen polls conducted since April 2009, with an even split between those who”strongly” versus somewhat approve.

However, the proportion reporting “total” disapproval jumped from 28 percent to 50 percent over the same period, of which all but one percentage point registered “strong” disapproval. These folks came out of the “neither approve or disapprove” column, which has withered to nearly zero.

Nobody’s left on the fence with respect to Obamacare.  As time goes on, the appeal of repeal grows stronger, whether the president’s media allies like it or not.