Critical Condition

Public-Option Polling

The Washington Post poll is the latest example of a “public poll” in the past 2–3 weeks that curiously shows a growing number of Americans supportive of the “public option.” AP and Gallup were others. This is agenda-driven polling.

The fact is: Asking an ignorant public about the “public option” is incomplete polling. It calls for a response to feel-good phraseology rather than a probing of underlying ideology. “Public option” in health care is not so different from “campaign-finance reform,” “Violence against Women’s Act,” “revenue enhancements,” and such.

Our side has not done enough to discredit and expose the positive-sounding “public option” for what it truly is: a government grab of one of the most intimate matters people face, and one about which most of them are presently content.

Additionally, “private” is the opposite of public, and privacy is an important word in the overall health-care lexicon. We should message this aspect of “public option” as well.

The bogusness of these polls is also proved by President Obama himself, who is lukewarm on the inclusion of the public option and has suggested they would move forward with or without it. He must realize that good polling shows no such clamor for a public option. The great news there, of course, is the fire he faces from the Left (unions, Congressional Black Caucus) on this if public option is excluded or severely diluted.

Kellyanne Conway is president of a polling company, WomanTrend.