The information provided by Thomson Reuters was very interesting. The question was not as simple as the press release made it sound: "60 percent of Americans believe a public option should be included in final healthcare legislation." Here is the question:
For this next section, please rate the statements using a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 means "Strongly Disagree" and 5 means "Strongly Agree". The higher the number, the more you agree with the statement. You can use any number in between. (READ AND ROTATE)A few points. In the question, the "public option" was described as "like Medicare for everyone." Needless to say, none of the public options that are or have been under discussion fit that description.
6a. The quality of healthcare delivered in our country will be better 12 months from now.
6b. It will be easier for people to receive care they need 12 months from now.
6c. The value of care delivered will be better 12 months from now.
6d. The total amount of money your family spends on healthcare will decrease 12 months from now.
7a. Do you believe a "Public Option" (like Medicare for everyone) should be included as part of the final legislation that Congress passes into law?
Second, whereas the other question allowed people to rank the strength of their feelings on a scale of 1-5, the public option question did not provide for any level of nuance. You're either for it or against it or not sure.
Third, in the results according to Thomson Reuters, 59.9% answered "Yes" and 40.1% answered "No." Does that mean that no one (or at least fewer than one-tenth of one percent of people) didn't know or were not sure? That strikes me as very strange.
The result is that this poll, like so many others, is not what it seems. I do not suggest any bad intent on the part of Thomson Reuters, but why not try other questions which presented the public option in a less rosy context?
Better question: will ObamaCare get jammed down our throats no matter WHAT public opinion says?