Thursday, November 19, 2009

Silly Polling

The new CNN poll asks this question about health insurance coverage for abortion:

Generally speaking, are you in favor of using public funds for abortions when the woman cannot afford it, or are you opposed to that?

The answers are 67% opposing the use of public funds and 37% favoring their use.

This question is then used as a lead-in to the following:

The health care reform bill that narrowly passed in the House of Representatives on November 7 included tight restrictions on the use of federal money for abortion coverage. Abortion rights activists strongly oppose such restrictions.

"Roughly one in five Americans who oppose the House health care bill do so because it is not liberal enough," said CNN polling director Keating Holland. "The abortion issue may be one reason why. But for most Americans, potential restrictions on abortion may not be a deal-breaker."

Now, that's just plain silly. The question about public funding is irrelevant as the Hyde amendment already covers that bit (unless we are planning to overthrow that?). What the Stupak amendment would do is expand the Hyde amendment. The CNN poll respondents were not asked about that at all. To draw conclusions about an irrelevant poll is...irrelevant.

Then there's this question:

Now think about women who are covered by private health insurance plans that are paid by private individuals or employers with no money from the government involved. Do you think private insurance plans should cover some or all of the costs of an abortion, or do you think that women who want to get an abortion should have to pay the complete costs of that abortion out of their own pockets?

Forty-five percent of the respondents stated that health insurance should cover some or all of the costs. Fifty-one percent stated that the woman should pay all the costs herself. This difference is within the poll's sampling error (which suggests that the sampling error is pretty big).

Note that these women "want" to get an abortion. They don't "need" one. Note also that there is no option to say that the man who got her pregnant should pay some or all of the costs or that his health insurance plan should do that.

Neither are there any questions about whether private insurance plans should cover Viagra or the treatment for injuries caused by sky-diving or surfing or snowboarding. It is only abortion which is deemed worthy of these types of carelessly formulated questions.