Do Americans Really Want A Public Option?

Mark Blumenthal looks at a new poll:

The Pew survey finds that a majority of adults (56%) are able to associate "public option" with health care rather than another issue. On the one hand, as the report points out, that awareness ranks toward the high end of Pew's awareness questions. On the other, as a gauge of knowledge, the bar is pretty low. Recognizing that the term "public option" has something to do with health care does not mean you can explain what the term means, how it might work or who it might cover. At least we know that nearly half of Americans (44%) have no clue that the term even involves the health care debate.

How many Americans both know what the public option is and "want" it?

How many Americans both know what the public option is and "want" it? Unfortunately, the Pew survey includes no favor-or-oppose questions, so we have to guess, but the number probably falls far short of a majority. The Pew Report does tell us that Democrats are just as likely as Republicans to correctly answer the public option question (59% for each), so it's unlikely that the more knowledgeable are radically different in terms of their attitudes about specific reform proposals. In other words, are 65% really "begging" for a public option? Not likely.