The latest Fox/Opinion Dynamics poll on health care reform has an interesting finding buried midway through it. Respondents who expressed support for the Democratic plan were asked for their reasons. Interestingly, the most obviously altruistic motive –that the reforms would expand health insurance coverage for children and the poor– was most popular among Republicans (21%) and Independents (29%) . A reason that was comparatively unpopular among Democrats (8%). Indeed, the altruistic motive is the top specific reason Republicans and Independent supporters of the bill supplied.
Doubly interesting was the finding that the most popular specific reason among Democrats for supporting the bill, was the most private: that it would personally benefit their own family. Democrats were also fond of the plan’s potential to reduce their own individual costs (14%), a parsimonious motive which was substantially less popular among Republican (8%) and Independent (4%) supporters of the plan.
I’m not sure I would have anticipated these results. They do beg the question of whether some Democratic advocates of the plan are as selflessly motivated as they contend. As for the apparent altruism of Republican and Independent supporters however, it should be observed that since the poll also reveals almost everyone except Democrats now opposes the plan (only 27% of Independents and 8% of Republicans favor it), their sample sizes were inevitably smaller, and thus potentially less representative.
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