Editor’s note: This is another is a series of monthly “Freedom Index” polls conducted exclusively for WND by the public opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies.
The huge and vigorously vocal crowds appearing at congressional town halls across the nation are an indication of the feelings Americans have about the proposed Obamacare health care takeover, and Democrats can ignore it because of the Washington majorities they hold, but would do so at their own peril, according to a new poll.
“First, most people are quite happy with the health care they now receive, and second … they expect government health care will work according to rules as convoluted as the IRS regulations and with the efficiency of the post office,” said pollster Fritz Wenzel.
“It could be said that these survey results show that voters fear that greatest of all descriptions of the public sector: ‘We’re from the government and we’re here to help.'”
The WND/Wenzel survey was conducted August 19-25, 2009, using an automated telephone technology calling a random sampling of listed telephone numbers nationwide. The survey included 30 questions and carries a 95 percent confidence interval. It included 804 adult respondents. It carries a margin of error of plus or minus percentage points.
Half of the respondents said they expect the health care system to get worse and 28 percent said it would stay the same, according to the poll.
“That 28 percent expecting the status quo are essentially against any dramatic changes because, to say things would be the same afterwards is to say let’s not waste the time and money making changes in the first place,” Wenzel said in an analysis of the results.
“This is a message that Democratic leaders could ignore because they have total control on Capitol Hill, but they would do so at their own peril. Just 22 percent said they believe dramatic change would help the health care system. Interestingly, the highest level of support for dramatic change comes from the South, but that is also where there are large concentrations of minorities – who, the survey shows – are more supporting of serious changes than are whites,” he wrote.
The other shoe about to drop is the issue over costs, too, the poll indicated.
“Three times more people than not – 58 percent – said they think such medical care would end up costing more, compared to just 18 percent who said it would cost less. Another 23 percent said it would cost about the same as now, again raising the question as to why any changes should then be made. Even more Democrats than not said they think dramatic health care changes would cost more,” Wenzel found.
“Another reason this plan for big changes is doomed is because these proposals are coming from Washington, not, say, from the medical community. What that means is that Americans see this much more as a political power grab than something that would help improve the health of American citizens,” he continued.
“Fifty-seven percent said they think this debate is about politics, while 27 percent said they think it is borne out of a concern in [Washington] for our collective health. This effort might have won more favor if it had started outside of Washington, but alas, it did not. This is one reason, by the way, that the effort to brand this as the Edward Kennedy Health Care Bill will not win it more support nationally – he was as political as they come. Such a move might sway Beltway insiders, but this survey data suggests it will not fly far outside Washington,” the analysis said.
“The survey also cuts right to the heart of the problem that some people feel about government intervention in health care – that it will be a gateway for bureaucrats to decide lifestyle limits to Americans. A strong majority – 59 percent – said they believe more federal involvement will spell more government dictates on such things as what we can eat, drink, and how much we can weigh.
“Freedom-loving people see this as a real threat to many areas of their personal lives,” Wenzel’s analysis said.
“If Democrats do push through a sweeping health care bill, this may be the single most powerful campaign issue against them next year – especially to those first and second term Democrats who now represent right-leaning congressional districts. The clue? Nearly two out of three independent voters – 63 percent – said they expect that more government involvement in health care will result in more dictates from Washington,” he said.
“If you liked how former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders taught your kids what to do with that condom, this survey suggests you are going to love what Washington tells you to do with that Twinkie,” he said.
Wenzel, president of Wenzel Strategies public opinion research and media consulting company, formerly was associated with Zogby International. He spent 25 years as a news and political reporter for major metro dailies. He also found that voters expect government involvement will lead to rationing. Sixty percent said they expect rationing while only 22 percent said it was unlikely.
Again, Democrats should be alarmed, because two out of three independents said they expect rationing under a government reform plan.
“For all the inside-the-beltway controversy over whether the opposition to health care reform that has surfaced at town hall meetings has been ginned up by insurance companies, average voters want their representatives to have listened and follow the lead of the people on this issue,” the report said.
“Asked if Congress should go ahead a pass a reform plan against public opposition because they may know more about it, or whether they should oppose it because their constituents oppose it, 65 percent said Congress should do what their voters want them to do. Just 17 percent said Congress should ignore public sentiment on this issue,” Wenzel said.
See detailed results of survey questions:
With which of these statements do you agree more: a. Congress should pass health care reform even if a majority of Americnas oppose it because they know a lot more about the subject. B. Congress should not pass health care reform if a majority of Americans oppose it because it is their job to represent the wishes of Americans.