The Campaign Spot

Gallup Finding Little Sign of Backlash From Town-Hall Protests

Gallup conducted a poll about what Americans think of members of Congress holding town-hall meetings, and the protests that have occurred.
Asked whether they’re following the story closely, 32 percent say “very closely,” 37 percent say “somewhat closely,” 18 percent say “not too closely,” and 13 percent say not at all.

Gallup asked, “From what you know or have read, have these town hall meeting protests against the proposed bills made you – more sympathetic to the protestors’ views, not made any difference to you either way, or less sympathetic to the protestors’ views?”
They found 34 percent said “more sympathetic,” 36 percent said “no difference,” and 21 percent said “less sympathetic.” Another 10 percent had no opinion.
57 percent said that “Concern about the healthcare bills that average citizens had well before the meetings took place” was a major factor driving the protests, while 48 percent said “Recent efforts by political activists to create organized opposition to the healthcare bills” was a major factor. I guess that’s the “Astroturf” question.
Then Gallup described certain actions and asked respondents if they considered the acts “democracy in action” or “abuses of democracy.” The result is . . . actually, pretty much what I would have expected: 41 percent said “making angry attacks against a health care bill and what it might do” is an abuse of democracy; 51 percent said “democracy in action.”
Asked about booing members of Congress, it was more divided — 47 percent abuse, 44 percent “democracy in action.”
Shouting down supporters of the bill was much less supported, with 33 percent saying it’s democracy in action, 59 percent saying it is abuse.


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