Patterico's Pontifications

6/22/2009

The NYT/CBS Poll is Junk – and Bad News for Obamacare

Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:01 am



[Posted by Karl]

This is what propaganda looks like:

Americans overwhelmingly support substantial changes to the health care system and are strongly behind [72%] one of the most contentious proposals Congress is considering, a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Bruce Kesler points out that — in traditional NYT/CBS fashion — the sample is badly skewed:

According to the actual poll data, of the 73% of respondents who said they voted in 2008 only 34% voted for McCain and 66% for Obama. The actual vote was 48% McCain.

This is a good example of why reading a poll is as much art as science, because the first problem is the percentage who say they voted in the 2008 election. In reality, no more than 62% of eligible voters cast ballots last year. Accordingly, the poll has sampled a lot of adults who were ineligible to vote… or, as often happens, respondents lied about voting. In such cases, the lie tends to skew in favor of the winner.

Does that mean the sample might be more valid than Kesler suggests? Not in this case. In this poll, the sample identified as 27% liberal, 37% moderate, and 29% conservative. In contrast, last week’s Gallup Poll showed Americans identify as 21% liberal, 35% moderate, and 40% conservative.

But wait… there’s more. The same NYT/CBS poll previously published more information about this very sample, showing that 16% was temporarily out of work, and another 10% was not in the market for work. Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg tells us that those who have been unemployed within the past year (or have an immediate family member in that category) are the most supportive of a government takeover of the US healthcare system. So a sample with much higher unemployment than the national average tells us something about the skew here also.

While the NYT trumpets the supposed support for a public plan among its skewed sample (which was not asked about support in the event they were to be dumped into the public plan by their employers), the rest of the results are bad news for Obamacare. The number who say the system needs fundamental change is almost exactly what it was in 1993-94. The number who trust the president to make the right decisions on healthcare policy is almost exactly what it was in 1993 — the number who trust Congress has actually declined. Both are below 40% in trust.

The number who would be willing to pay higher taxes to fund Obamacare (57%) is lower than in 1993. Of those willing to pay higher taxes, only 43% would be willing to pay as much as $500 a year more in taxes. That means fewer than 25% of a sample largely skewed towards liberals are willing to pay an amount far less than what Obamacare may actually require.

In short, the skewed NYT/CBS poll is no better for the Democrats than any of the other recent polls. In some ways, it is worse.

–Karl

50 Responses to “The NYT/CBS Poll is Junk – and Bad News for Obamacare”

  1. According to the actual poll data, of the 73% of respondents who said they voted in 2008 only 34% voted for McCain and 66% for Obama. The actual vote was 48% McCain.

    Actually, the actual vote for McCain was 45.7%. Although the larger point stands.

    A.S. (09b2d3)

  2. This is the part that jumped out at me:

    While 85 percent of respondents said the health care system needed to be fundamentally changed or completely rebuilt, 77 percent said they were very or somewhat satisfied with the quality of their own care.

    The Times noted this glaring “paradox”, but then dismissed it as merely a quirk for Republicans to “skillfully exploit[]”.

    You don’t have to be a polling expert to realize that when at least 2/3s of people say they want to completely rebuild a system that they are satisfied with, something stinks.

    tim maguire (4a98f0)

  3. Excellent post. Kesler missed most of those points.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  4. I’m totally against Government Health Insurance. However, how or whether someone voted in the past election is irrelevant to this question (IMO). How one identifies themselves (Cons, Lib, Ind) is important, as is whether they are employed or not. Those factors should be included to correctly sample the population.

    Obviously, in this poll, the results are skewed. And CBS/NYT should get a black eye over it. But I’m not holding my breath.

    Corwin (ea9428)

  5. I’m guessing that no one they know voted for McCain, so 34% seemed high. It’s also not surprising that they found more people not working and more time on their hands. It’s expensive to control for this by improving the sample, and why bother if it’s only going to go against their narrative.

    carlitos (84409d)

  6. As I note in the post, there’s plenty of reason to distrust the “Obama/McCain voters” question. To exapnd a bit, it is common for polls of adults to show a higher percent who say they voted than actually did. And the studies I’ve seen show it’s a bandwagon effect, which would favor Obama. That’s why the lib/mod/con question and the unemployment question are more telling.

    Karl (133ddc)

  7. tim maguire,

    The reason I didn’t highlight that “paradox” is that you will find it in every healthcare poll that asks. It’s one of the many things that has not changed since 1993.

    Karl (133ddc)

  8. The other factor is that telephone polls miss most of the population under 30. They don’t have landline phones and most have blocked incoming calls if the caller is on the do not call list of solicitors. Even if the poll is exempt for the do not call list (and I don’t know if they are) many young people, including my kids, screen their calls on cell phones and do not answer unless they recognize a name.

    Of course young people may be more positive about Obamacare since they don’t want to pay for insurance.

    Mike K (90939b)

  9. Yeah, if they don’t want to “pay” for insurance,
    they’ll be flabbergasted at how expensive “free” National Health Care is.

    AD - RtR/OS! (7cda43)

  10. GOP 101. Create doubt. The bottom line is Americans want a public option. And it remains amusing to see conservative members of Congress rail against that option for the people they represent while being covered for life with their own government healthcare plan. 320 million Americans may like to have the option to sign up for their plan as well.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  11. DCSCA 101 – (1) ignore the point of the thread. (2) Invent millions of nonexistant people.

    SPQR (72771e)

  12. DCSCA, members of Congress work for the government. Their employer (the US government) provides them health insurance through private insurance companies. John Kerry had Blue Cross, as he told us in the third 2004 Presidential debate.

    In other news, Starbucks employees have health care provided by their employer through private insurance companies. Microsoft provides its employees health care through private insurance companies.

    Is your point that we should all work for Congress, or what?

    carlitos (84409d)

  13. DCSCA writes:

    And it remains amusing to see conservative members of Congress rail against that option for the people they represent while being covered for life with their own government healthcare plan. 320 million Americans may like to have the option to sign up for their plan as well.

    He has been corrected on this exact bit of hackery in the last post I wrote about Obamacare. Presumably, DCSCA supports a government takeover to pay for treatment of early-stage Alzheimer’s.

    Karl (133ddc)

  14. Karl, thanks for your usual excellent Fisking of this crapola poll – as soon as I saw that headline in yesterday’s paper on our front door, I started howling (my wife just rolled her eyes). So many inaccuracies, so many leaps of logic that don’t have any substantiation – typical.

    Mike also brings up an excellent point re: polls and the relative availability of responders – CBS’s average audience age is over 50 (!), and the NYT is about at the same level. IOW, they’re both full of garbanzo beans.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  15. Of course young people may be more positive about Obamacare since they don’t want to pay for insurance.

    Young people don’t GET health insurance on their own, ever. Unless they have kids, or the job does it for them, they are almost always uninsured. And most upset when they see the rack rates that the medicos give the uninsured — a blowback of government/insurer managed rates.

    The worst of it is, young people often feel that they will never be old people and see no need to enter the system until much later in life. So, certainly if they MUST have health insurance, they think someone else should pay for it.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  16. DCSCA–

    Just for once, I’m gonna troll you: Think of it as evolution in action.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  17. #13- Hack? Actually, it is you who needs corrected. ‘You’ didn’t write that. The Heritage Foundation did. And given the fate of President Reagan, lets leave light-hearted Altzheimer’s quips out if this.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  18. Unfortunately, DuckCrap’s Alzheimer’s set-in about the same time as he talked to Werner…
    maybe that’s why he was in his skivvies?

    AD - RtR/OS! (7cda43)

  19. DCSCA,

    Is your point that we should all work for Congress, or what?

    carlitos (84409d)

  20. Ronaldus Maximus spells out the flaw of Obamacare.

    How can it be that Ronnie, dead and buried these many years, can target Obamacare with laser precision?

    Because the commies haven’t had an original idea since Marx. The only thing they have changed is the name on the package.

    papertiger (225212)

  21. #18- Odd to see Altzheimer’s quips from conservatives given the fate of President Reagan and Chuck Heston. Seems a little insensitive.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  22. Hey, you know us RW gun-nuts, insensitive is our middle name.

    AD - RtR/OS! (7cda43)

  23. I see ASPCA is on one of its broken record manic waves again. Watch out, folks.

    JD (f4934f)

  24. Oh, dear: I’ve hurt DCSCA’s delicate feelings. I’ve lost a family member to complications of Alzheimer’s, so I’m playing the Ultimate Moral Authority Card. Enjoy.

    And enjoy John R. Graham:

    Comparing this month’s results with those from 1993, only 57% are willing to see their taxes go up to fund the “public option,” versus 61% back in the days of HillaryCare (#59). And of that shrunken number of enthusiastic taxpayers, only 43% would be willing to see their taxes go up by even $500, a ridiculously small amount. Let’s say that there are 100 million taxpaying households in the U.S.: $500 would raise $50 billion, which is about 2% of the nation’s health-care tab. Every serious analyst recognizes that “covering all Americans” to the standard the insured enjoy today would cost a multiple of that amount. (See the Congressional Budget Office’s devastating reckoning of the plans coming out its own employer.)

    Most health-care polls demonstrate an incoherence that is impossible to reconcile, and this one is no different. Although 72% support an optional “Medicare for all”, 63% figure that it would make the quality of their own health care worse (#64) and 65% that it would hurt the economy (#63). We simply cannot take these results seriously.

    Karl (133ddc)

  25. #24- As have I. Tragic and I’m sorry you had to expereince that. Apparently it had a deeper impact on me than you and ‘enjoy’ is hardly a word I’d associate with it. But quip away if you feel the need. You may discover why so few comedians are conservatives in the process.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  26. Shouldn’t talk about lead poisoning due to the fate of President Kennedy.
    And since most people die in their sleep we better not talk about beds.
    Cars? – James Dean.
    Planes? – The Big Bopper and Buddy Holly.

    Since pretty much every topic, household appliance, and disease under the sun, had someone die from it, I suppose we better just shut down the site altogether, and turn off the computer.

    It’s the only sure way to please Ducksause.

    Ronaldus Maximus on liberal manipulations cloaked in false piety.

    papertiger (fbc22c)

  27. DCSCA,

    When you posted, twice in two topics, that Congress has health care provided by their employers, was your point that we should all work for Congress, or what?

    carlitos (84409d)

  28. carlitos,

    His point was to repeat his same dishonest talking points, which is why I’m not taking his Alzheimer’s shtick seriously, either. He’s been shown to be a serial fabricator.

    Karl (133ddc)

  29. While I’m at it, I think there’s ample evidence that edgy, offensive comedians are almost invariably Lefties.

    Karl (133ddc)

  30. Congress has previously debated the nationwide minimum wage, which will rise to $7.25 per hour this July. At 40 hours per week, that represents a salary of $15,080 per year. In other words, Congress legislates crumbs for the people they represent while taking home a guaranteed salary of $174,000. 320 million Americans would love to increase their pay tenfold.

    carlitos (84409d)

  31. Dear Karl:

    “..Apparently it had a deeper impact on me than you and ‘enjoy’ is hardly a word I’d associate with it…”

    Welcome to the wonderful world of DCSCA!

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  32. You barely scratched the surface of all the variables that could influence a health care poll.

    Were federal workers receiving government benefits overrepresented?

    Is the new Gallup poll showing 58% percent of Americans confident in Obama to recommend the right approach ideologically skewed and dishonest? And by what means?

    steve (64955d)

  33. – As have I. Tragic and I’m sorry you had to expereince that.

    F–k you with a rubber hose; while it’s amusing to watch your Zelig – like claims of omnipetence, when you fabricate the suffering of others to appropriate for your own selfish reasons, game’s over.

    Why don’t you tell us about all of your other relatives who’ve suffered from every disease in the book at this point? You could start with cancer, go on to leprosy, continue to MD, and finish up with a flourish on Autism. A–hole.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  34. DCSCA’s alzheimer’s would come in handy if he were ever deposed about that “corporate meeting” where they were discussing whether to have Khaddafi whacked.

    He’s had members of his family escorted from Tripoli at gunpoint.
    He’s plotted with the CIA.
    He’s met Wernher Von Braun.
    He’s interviewed for a job with “EIB” and even smelled Rush Limbaugh (who has BO, naturally).
    He was a charter member of the National Space Society.
    He’s discussed advertising with Phil Dusenberry.
    He’s played touch football with US Embassy staff in Moscow.
    He lived in Finchley when Thacher was MP.
    He watches CNN on a direct satellite feed and videotapes it.

    He is .. the most interesting man in the world.

    Stay thirsty, my friends.

    carlitos (84409d)

  35. Single Payer/Universal Health Care isn’t a workable option. It’s expensive and unweildy. It hamstrings the medical community in every country implemented. It stifles innovation, it starves research and rations care.

    For the young adults who do not have health care – I suppose they need to learn. I did. I did not go without insurance for more than a year since I left college. I looked for jobs that had insurance as a benefit. It meant learning skills and NOT taking that way cool super fun job at the amusement park that would have let me play with baby jaguars daily. I wanted that job a lot, but it didn’t have a future, it didn’t have benefits excepting the baby jaguars.

    Life is about choices, you get a goal and then you move in that direction. How flipping hard is it to expect my fellow Americans to behave like responsible adults?

    Vivian Louise (c0f830)

  36. It has been clear for some time now that the mainstream media has turned into an Obama Propaganda Machine, not unlike other repressive regimes, and they will make up anything to ‘prove’ their point.

    ztormtra (160ebf)

  37. losers: sore, one each, unless otherwise specified by number.
    I doubt many of you will get that, especially the more war-hawkish among you.

    Back on topic, I expect Patterico’s minutiae militia are most principled about keeping competition in the health-care insurance industry and thus, of course, oppose any public aspect to a plan to catch up with those countries far ahead of us in health and medical care.
    And I expect the Patterico minutiae militia then wouldn’t holler if any of their own suffer from the insurers’ recission scythe.
    “What? You saw a dermatologist for acne years ago. No insurance for you! Never mind the years and years of monthly payments you’ve made already. We will not cover your chemotherapy for breast cancer. You are dead to us. ((As well as to everyone else.))
    (Oh, and of course we give great performance reviews to our employees based on their numbers in making such recissions.)”
    Competition? Yeah right.

    Larry Reilly (45e7a4)

  38. I see Mary is off her meds again.

    JD (1ec03c)

  39. I believe that 90% of those who say they’re willing to pay higher taxes don’t pay income tax and don’t expect to.

    Ken Hahn (5aba52)

  40. “What? You saw a dermatologist for acne years ago. No insurance for you!

    By the same token, the variety of dimbulb liberals (or “progressives”) throughout America who look dreamy eyed at our neighbor to the north, and who wish we were as socialized and benevolent as they are, should be required — no, make that should be forced` — to seek all their medical care in Canada.

    Heartland.org, Robert J. Cihak, M.D., Sept 2004

    For decades, Canadians have cast pitying glances at us poor American neighbors who actually have to pay for our medical care while they get theirs for “free.”

    Yet the major candidates in Canada’s recent national election both agreed the country’s health care system is failing. They made the usual socialist diagnosis of “not enough money.” None of the candidates mentioned government control as what ails the Canadian system.

    A July 2004 study by the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute, Paying, More, Getting Less, concluded that after years of government control, the Canadian medical system is badly injured and bleeding citizens’ hard-earned tax dollars. The institute compared health care systems in the industrialized countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and found Canada currently spends the most, yet ranks among the lowest on such indicators as access to physicians, quality of medical equipment, and key health outcomes.

    One of the major reasons for this discrepancy is that, unlike the countries in the study that outperformed Canada–Sweden, Japan, Australia, and France, for example–Canada outlaws most private health care.

    If the Canadian government says it provides a particular medical service, it is illegal for a Canadian citizen to pay for and obtain that service privately. At the same time, the Canadian government bureaucracy rations medical services. According to another Fraser Institute survey, Waiting Your Turn: Hospital Waiting Lists in Canada…a Canadian health care patient, on average, must wait 17.7 weeks for hospital treatment. Those who live in Saskatchewan waited an average of 30 weeks, those in Ontario a relatively expeditious 14 weeks.

    In 1999, Dr. Richard F. Davies, a cardiologist at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa, described in remarks for the Canadian Institute for Health Information how delays affected Ontario heart patients scheduled for coronary artery bypass graft surgery. In a single year, for this one operation, the doctor said, “71 Ontario patients died before surgery, 121 were removed from the list permanently because they had become medically unfit for surgery,” and 44 left the province to have the surgery, many having gone to the United States for the operation.

    In a May/June 2004 article in the journal Health Affairs, researcher Robert Blendon and colleagues described the results of a survey of hospital administrators in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, the United States, and Canada. Fifty percent of the Canadian hospital administrators said the average waiting time for a 65-year-old man requiring a routine hip replacement was more than six months. Not one American hospital administrator reported waiting periods that long. Eighty-six percent of American hospital administrators said the average waiting time was shorter than three weeks; only 3 percent of Canadian hospital administrators said their patients had this brief a wait.

    Mark (411533)

  41. “I expect Patterico’s minutiae militia are most principled about keeping competition in the health-care insurance industry and thus, of course, oppose any public aspect to a plan to catch up with those countries far ahead of us in health and medical care.”

    Larry – Name those countries and explain how they are ahead. Show your work.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  42. Larry probably believed everything in Mikey Moore’s opinion movie on medical care in the U.S. Larry, why not go to Cuba if you need majot surgery if you believe Moore’s BS?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  43. Actually McCain got 46% of the vote. The NYT may be overstating it slightly but there’s no doubt in my mind that the overwhelming weight of public opinion is in favor of a major overhaul of the healthcare system that makes available universal coverage. Quite apart from popular opinion there has been a decisive shift in the business community. I’ve run some fairly large companies with several thousand employees so I know a lot of people in the business community and the shift in their attitude over the last ten years has enormous.

    John(2) (df16ec)

  44. john(2) – If there is such overwhelming support, why can’t the Dems push that, and why can’t the NY Times reprt on it honestly, and why can’t Barcky speak about it honestly, and why do they need a full day propoganda show on ABC?

    JD (dfb69f)

  45. Besides pointing out that the NY Times/CBS poll has a biased survey population, you should also point out the bias in question construction.

    The NY Times/CBS poll tries to survey the opinion of a totally UNKNOWN magical mythical efficient national health care system vs. KNOWN existing medical insurance systems. The real experience of any negative impact is all left up to the imagination of the survey respondent.

    How about a REAL question like, “Your family pays today $500 per month for private medical insurance. Would you prefer a universal national health care system, that will cover others who have no insurance today and cannot pay? To pay for natioal health care, the government will increase your taxes by $700 to $1000 per month, and the government will limit the medical services you now get via a national heath rationing board in DC. Do you still favor a universal national health care?

    pnkearns (b3ac4a)

  46. […] government takeover of healthcare that the Democrats can muster. The problem is that even the flawed NYT/CBS poll told us that fewer than 25% of a sample largely skewed towards liberals are willing to pay as […]

    The Greenroom » Forum Archive » Rocks, Hard Places & Obamacare (e2f069)

  47. No matter how you slice and dice the poll results, most American’s have come to recognize that our health care coverage in this country is badly in need of reform if only for cost reasons. We can’t go on spending double what other industrialized countries spend and have such a huge percentage of our GDP go toward health care costs. Even health care professionals know we have a serious problem. Our health care expenses are making this country less competitive in the world marketplace. For the money we spend, we should be getting a lot better health care and more people should be covered. If Canada spent as much as we spend per capital, there health care outcomes would be the gold standard. Parse the poll results any way you want, but it want change the fact that this country has a serious health care challenge that we can’t kick down the road any further.

    Bobzimmerman (6d069f)

  48. […] nutroots chide the Blue Dogs for their supposed inconsistencies, but when poll after poll shows that people want healthcare reform only if they don’t have to pay a meager […]

    The Greenroom » Forum Archive » Obamacare: The Screeching of the Nutroots (e2f069)

  49. […] nutroots chide the Blue Dogs for their supposed inconsistencies, but when poll after poll shows that people want healthcare reform only if they don’t have to pay a meager $500 […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Obamacare: The Screeching of the Nutroots (e4ab32)


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