Graham seems really excited about this load of BS from AP/Yahoo, so I hate to rain on his parade. But duty compels me to do so.  The poll purports to show that only 34% the public want a private sector health care system and 65% support a “universal” government-run alternative. In reality, it shows nothing of the kind.

For this or any other opinion survey to be scientifically valid, the sample must be randomly chosen. Otherwise, it won’t be representative of the general population. A look at this survey’s methodology reveals that the participants were not randomly chosen.

The initial list of potential participants was randomly compiled, but that was used only as a call list in their search for people who were willing to take the online poll. The people who actually took the survey were self-selected from that initial list.

Even if the sample were scientifically valid, the survey questions relating to health care were tendentious. On the question relating to private sector health care, for example, the wording was obviously designed to elicit a negative response. Each partcipant was asked if the following statement reflected his or her view:

The United States should continue the current health insurance system in which most people get their health insurance from private employers, but some people have no insurance.

The designers of the survey know perfectly well that no serious policy maker—Left, Right, or Center—advocates continuing with the status quo. This question was a classic straw man occupying space on the survey that  should have been reserved for a legitimate policy choice.

The question about government-run health care, on the other hand, includes warm and fuzzy formulations like “universal health insurance program in which everyone is covered,” phraseology clearly designed to produce positive responses from most participants.

This survey, in other words, is nothing more than a piece of single-payer agitprop. It will no doubt be used by the advocates of government-run health care to decieve as many  gullible people as possible.

Comments 3

  1. feminizedwesternmale wrote:

    And yet perception is reality when considering the average schmo, and the relative ease by which he is led by liberalism.

    Posted 08 Jan 2008 at 1:20 pm
  2. drmatt wrote:

    Based on the criteria in your post, you should never post polls or surveys. They are all terribly scientificly weak and are all self selecting with huge biases. But alas, you tout polls and surveys that support your arguements as if they were the gold standard of science.

    Posted 08 Jan 2008 at 4:25 pm
  3. Brandon wrote:

    The wording of the question was 100% accurate. Most people get it from their employers and, depending on how little or much you typically associate the word “some” with, some people have no insurance. And, while policy-makers all SAY they don’t agree with the status quo, which policy-makers (who anyone thinks could affect real change) are saying we should do anything major?

    Posted 05 Aug 2009 at 8:32 pm

Trackbacks & Pingbacks 1

  1. From over my med body! » The Health Policy Nitty-Gritty on 09 Jan 2008 at 7:47 pm

    [...] Catron takes issue (”load of BS”) with my highlighting a recent poll showing support for single-payer over our current system, saying that the poll isn’t scientific and flawed. Well of course it is, Mr. Catron–all polls are. They also leave out all us young adults who have no home phone number and have unlisted cell phone numbers, too. Either never cite polls or surveys yourself, or be honest. All polls suffer from selection and other biases. (Still, having half of respondents say they support a system where “all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan” is pretty damn impressive to me. I never would have expected the number to be that high.) [...]

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