White House Polling Memo Omits Numbers Showing Support For Public Option

Okay, so the White House is circulating an upbeat polling memo citing a bunch of public surveys showing that public opinion still tilts heavily in Obama’s favor on health care.

The memo, by Obama pollster Joel Benenson, doesn’t mention the public option (the White House may not be committed to it) and largely cites general numbers showing support for action and for Obama’s plan.

But here’s the funny thing: We went back and checked, and virtually every poll cited in this memo also found strong support for the inclusion of a public plan.

* The memo cited a CBS poll from September 1st, saying it found strong support for action. What does it say on the public plan? Sixty percent support, 34% oppose.

* The memo cited a CNN poll done through August 31st, saying it found deep public dismay with the system. What does it say on the public plan? Fifty-five percent support, 41% oppose.

* The memo cited a Kaiser poll from August 11th, saying it found overwhelming support for consumer protections. What does it say on the public plan? Fifty nine percent support, 38% oppose.

The White House memo did cite one poll that didn’t find majority support for the public option: This MSNBC poll that found only 43% support for it. But that’s the one that generated all that controversy because it didn’t tell respondents that the public plan was a “choice.”

To be clear, it’s not surprising that the White House wouldn’t include these numbers, since it’s currently weighing whether to ditch the public option. But the fact that the very same polls the White House is citing also show very strong support for the public option should tell the White House something, shouldn’t it?

Special thanks to our reporter Amanda Erickson for the research help.

don’t piss on my leg and call it rain.

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