The Public Doesn't Understand the Public Plan

Does health care reform have a better chance of passing Congress without a public option? I don't know. But this is a really important question, so the Washington Post conducted a big poll to figure it out. The headline over the poll announces: "More support if public option dropped." What the headline leaves out is: This poll makes no sense.

Try to follow the logic.

1) A majority (55 percent) support a government-sponsored (public) health care plan.

2) A minority (46 percent) supports health care reform overall. Huh?

3) Removing the popular (see above) public plan from health care makes support for health reform increase to 50 percent. Double huh?

So there you have it, White House! The way to make health reform more popular is to take out the part of the plan that is more popular than health reform overall. Makes sense?

If Conor Clarke were at this keyboard, he would note that polls might be terrible indicators of public preferences, but at least they're excellent illustrations of an electorate that feels remarkable comfortable passing judgment on policies they don't understand.