Monday, September 14, 2009

Misleading headline?

The headline of a recent Rasmussen report reads: "Health Care Reform:
Support for Health Care Reform Jumps to 51%, Highest Total Yet."

I found this lead interesting given the explanation that follows:
Fifty-one percent (51%) of all voters nationwide now favor the plan while 46% are opposed. In June, as the public debate was just beginning, 50% favored the plan and 45% were opposed.
So support for the plan was 50% in June and now it is 51%. Given that the margin of error is 3%, how can it be correct to say that anything's changed, let along "jumped?" And in any event, does a 1% increase constitute a "jump?"

I also notice that opposition for the plan "jumped" by 1% as well, to 45% in June to 46% in the recent survey. Presumably that didn't make the headline because opposition was as high as 53% at one point. Fair enough.

Then there's this:
Still, the intensity gap continues to favor those who oppose the plan. Currently, 28% Strongly Favor the proposed reform while 38% are Strongly Opposed. (see day-by-day numbers). In late August, 23% were strongly in favor of the plan and 43% were strongly opposed.
So the "intensity gap" has closed considerably. At the end of August, those who strongly oppose outnumbered those who strong favor by 20%. That margin is now down to 10%, cut in half in just a couple of weeks. That seems like a much bigger, and more significant "jump" than the 1% noted in the headline.

Oh well. They're the experts.

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