by Patrick Appel

Gallup just released a poll that shows independents are not being turned off by the town halls. Josh Marshall is puzzled:

[The poll internals] do not seem to show any of the backlash against the craziness that many reformers are hoping for. And at a minimum they seem to be hardening opposition among Republicans and right-leaning independents.

Nate Silver says not to take the poll too seriously. However:

the real upside to the protests is that they perpetuate misinformation about the Democrats' bills. Forget the birthers -- I want to know how many Americans believe in the "death panels". (I also want to know whether Chuck Grassley, since he seems to be one of them, would accept the following trade: Democrats will drop the "death panels" if you'll drop your opposition to the public option.)

Ultimately, the message that Democrats need to be getting across is not that the protesters are protesting in the wrong way or for the wrong reasons, but that they're protesting, in some substantial measure, about the wrong things: that what they seem to think is contained in the health care package doesn't necessarily match the reality.

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