Internal DNC Memo On Health Care Speech Focus Groups

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The Democratic National Committee's dial group testing of the President's health care address on Wednesday showed a significant increase in the number of voters who held positive opinions about the president's plan, according to an internal DNC memo obtained by this column.  address.pdf

Research conducted with 49 voters in Tempe, Arizona by David Binder, who was Obama's campaign focus group guru, suggests to Democrats that the speech was "effective at alleviating concerns of voters and impressing upon them that the President has a strong plan to reform health care," the memo says. "Even among those voters who held neutral or negative opinions of the President, substantial positive movement was shown as the proportion of these participants supporting the President's plan increased by nearly 40% after the speech.

According to Binder, the most highly rated section of the speech was Obama's description of new regulations on the insurance industry.


"Under this plan, it will be against the law for insurance companies to deny
you coverage because of a pre‐existing condition. As soon as I sign this bill, it will be against the law for insurance companies to drop your coverage when you get sick or water it down when you need it most. They will no longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or a lifetime. We will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out‐of‐pocket expenses, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they get sick"

Dials also turned high when Obama said this:

"I have no interest in putting insurance companies out of business. They provide a legitimate service, and employ a lot of our friends and neighbors. I just want to hold them accountable."

The panelists liked Obama's call for an "end to bickering."


"The time for bickering is over. The time for games has passed. Now is the season for action. Now is when we must bring the best ideas of both parties together, and show the American people that we can still do what we were sent here to do. Now is the time to deliver on health care."

The memo doesn't say what the panelists didn't like -- and one wouldn't expect to find such a thing in a DNC memo -- but Binder's work is well respected and he is seen as honest by Republican pollster colleagues.


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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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