Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ignore Those Polls!

I really hate these questions:
From what you saw and heard about the Court hearings on the health care law, opinion of the [health care law/Supreme Court] hasn't changed; less favorable; more favorable
What Pew gets from the question is that reactions were sharply partisan to last week's SCOTUS dog-and-pony show, which is of course no surprise and is no doubt true.

Still, I hate the question. I mean -- 35% of all Republicans claim that they have a less favorable view of ACA, while 59% report no change. But what does that mean? I have no idea. After all, anyone who already believed that ACA was the end of freedom in the US was unlikely to actually think even worse of it after three days of hearings, right? Does this finding mean that a third of all Republicans hadn't really payed attention to the arguments against ACA until now, and were now adopting the views of other (unchanged) Republicans? Or does it mean that about a third of all Republicans search out the most partisan answer -- so that they really didn't change their minds at all about health care reform, but dislike it so much that they want to give the most negative answer? Or maybe it's a group who did in fact hate ACA before -- but now, like Brian trying to get into the PFJ, they now hate the ACA a lot.

I have no idea. Nor do I really trust people to remember what they thought about things two weeks ago.

I'm not saying that these questions are totally content-free; after all, the fact that responses are highly partisan suggests that it's picking up something real. It's just that it's not particularly easy to figure out exactly what is being picked up. And when I have no idea what the answers mean, my guess is it's best to just ignore them.

1 comment:

  1. Does Bernstein usually call the proceedings a "SCOTUS dog-and-pony show" or does he save that for when the big government side does such an awful job of promoting Bernstein's views?

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