JONATHAN CHAIT MARCH 10, 2010
Pollster Scott Rasmussen and pollster Doug Schoen have an anti-health care reform op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. The premise is that President Obama's sales efforts have utterly failed to budge stubborn public opposition:
One of the more amazing aspects of the health-care debate is how steady public opinion has remained. Despite repeated and intense sales efforts by the president and his allies in Congress, most Americans consistently oppose the plan that has become the centerpiece of this legislative season.
Launching from this premise, they proceed to explain why Americans hate the health care bill every day and in every way.
This would have been a good op-ed to write a month ago, when public opinion on health care reform had held steady for months. In fact, the public has moved sharply in the pro-reform direction over the last several weeks, with the margin of opposition falling by more than half. Here's the pollster.com summary of polls:
And if you wanted to consider all polls other than Rasmussen's own -- on the grounds that pollsters who, say, write polemical right-wing might be less trustworthy than those who don't -- then the gap has virtually disappeared:
Of course, Rasmussen's inaccurate description of public opinion in the service of trying to defeat health care reform is all the more reason to treat his poll numbers with skepticism.