Survey USA national poll sponsored by MoveOn.org Political Action, 1200 adults surveyed August 19, 2009:
Question: In any health care proposal, how important do you feel it is to give people a choice of both a public plan administered by the federal government and a private plan for their health insurance--extremely important, quite important, not that important, or not at all important?
Not that important..... 7%
Not at all important...15%
Not sure............... 1%
If the question wording here sounds familiar, it's because NBC News and the Wall Street Journal used the exact same question in a poll conducted in June. That poll found nearly identical results to the one released today by MoveOn.org and SurveyUSA.
In the two most recent NBC/WSJ polls, their question wording had changed, dropping the word "choice" and instead focusing on whether a public plan should be created to compete with private insurance companies. The changed in question wording had a dramatic impact on the poll results, with just 43% supporting a public plan as they had described it.
The New York Times and CBS arguably have the best question wording on a public plan: "Would you favor or oppose the government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan - something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get - that would compete with private health insurance plans?" Their most recent poll shows 66% support.