POLITICS: Another Zogby poll that’s wrong (but understandably so)

Americans have been lying to pollsters for years, and here’s another example

Question: The candidates for president have each proposed changes to the healthcare system in America. Generally speaking, on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being not at all well, and 5 being very well, how well do you understand the details and differences of the various healthcare proposals put forth by the current presidential candidates?

1. Not at all well: 34%2. Not very well: 21%3. Neutral: 25%4. Well: 13%5. Very well: 6%6. Not sure: 1%

So discounting for the bullshit inflation factor of about 75% that means less than 5% of Americans understand all the candidates proposals—and not that many people read Bob L’s blog. And no I don’t count myself in that 5%. I have no idea what Romney’s health care plan is, ditto most of the rest of the Republicans other than Giuliani’s and he’s probably off back to fake homeland security consulting after Tuesday in Florida. And the Democrats can’t really make their minds up either. On the other hand I’m not sure I count the candidates in that 5% either!

The poll is from a website called PresidentialRx from a group at Vanderbilt Univ with a bunch of middle of the road healthcare worthies on board attempting to explain the health care policies of the candidates to the unwashed masses. There’s another one from HealthCentral run by our bud Craig Stoltz which we featured on THCB the other day which has really cool graphics. (And Susan Blumenthal has done yeoman’s work getting all the details down on her HuffPo blog)

But don’t forget kids, chances of anything actually happening in the next Administration that resembles anything much of the actual plans of any candidate as now described? — low

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4 replies »

  1. The goal of a Presidential candidate’s healthcare positioning is to not piss off their base (WSJ editorial staff for Republicans, Families USA for Democrats) without awakening the wrath of the $2.3 trillion industry itself. What you really don’t know (and won’t learn during a Presidential campaign) is how much of their limited stock of political capital they are willing to expend to expand access and/or rein in cost- both are very expensive, and the political ROI is probably negative. Bungling a major reform thirteen years ago cost the Clintons control of Congress. High risk/high cost of failure/uncertain reward.
    A “smart” candidate will mumble his/her way through this issue, giving lip service to the importance of “reform”, and then satisfice their way through their term in office. This isn’t impossible; it’s just the type of thing our Jeffersonian political system was designed to fail at. You need a strong central government to manage a $2.3 trillion activity, and we don’t have one.

  2. Understand the plans? Well, first they need to provide some plans for us to understand. Only the three top Democrats have “plans.” You can take apart the big documents of Obama, Edwards, and Clinton and get a pretty good idea what is going on and how it all fits together. (Messily. In fact, so messily that I wonder why they published them).
    GOP side- what plans? Thompson has a paragraph, McCain has a wish list, Romney has a bunch of quotes from which you can infer that the Governor of MA was some other guy with the same name etc. Sure, I can infer that Huckabee wants to individualize risk to a scary degree, and Ron Paul wants us to rely on charity care by nonprofit hospitals, etc, but calling them plans or even lists of identifiable policy instruments- no.
    So things like the KFF side-by-side comparisons are absolutely heroic and impose more order than there is.
    Not having a plan might be politically rational, since the three Dem plans look like dodgy contracts with bad things in the fine print (not a comment on their content- that is literally what they look like. So does most policy). And it’s especially rational for Republicans, whose primary voters don’t care about the issue anywhere near as much as Democratic primary voters.

  3. Well I think healthcare is off the table now anyway. It’ll be Economy, Economy, Economy. Of course if a lot of people loose jobs AND their healthcare then maybe it might be on the table again, but not in a major way in the campaign.
    People knowing the details would be nice but I think they’re so tired of political promises gone wrong that they say, sure that’s nice, but what will we ACTUALLY get, and after we get it how will it operate. That’s a long and winding road with many lobbists there to highjack a solution and keep the status quo.

  4. The only thing “people” know is that Hillary is for single-payer, socialized medicine. Which she’s not.