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Tuesday, 23 March 2010

The Big Day


With today's signing of the main health care reform bill by President Obama (photo above from, I now officially put this blog into semi-retirement status. Legislative action on the bill is not complete, and the bill may well perpetually be a work-in-progress. In addition to the upcoming Senate corrections on the bill, there may be serious attempts in the coming months and years to change or even repeal the bill, in whole or in part. Even if there's not a lot of new legislative action in this area, I expect there to be considerable polling on consumer satisfaction with the new provisions, once they go into effect. If/when new polling on health care reform comes out, I'll be here to write about it.

If I had to pick one lesson about public opinion polling that I've learned from operating this blog, it is that pollsters should go beyond simple favor/oppose questions about a given policy and probe further the nature of the opposition. As we learned through the health care reform debate, opposition to the bill was not homogeneous. Most who opposed the legislation did so from the political right (claiming the bill would be too costly, create too much government entanglement, etc.), but an appreciable minority did so from the left (because of no single-payer structure, no public option, etc.). This distinction is important because, for example, conservative opponents will presumably be much more likely to want to vote out Democratic incumbents this November than will liberal opponents, who may come to accept the enacted legislation as exemplifying "the art of the possible."

I probably won't post very often with the blog in semi-retirement. However, the blog will always be here as one observer's historical record of the polling that was done on health care reform in the United States from August 2009 to the day the bill was signed in March 2010.


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