Anchoring CNN Tonight, correspondent Erica Hill reported the findings of a new poll:
While Democrats and the president may be cheering the bill's passage, a majority of Americans still oppose the Senate plan. According to a CNN Opinion Research Corporation poll, 56 percent say they are against the measure. Now that's a slight shift actually in favor of the plan from a weeks ago. When as you can see opposition was as high as 61 percent, 42 percent support the plan, that number also up at six points.
And when asked for the effect the health care bill would have on their own family, 34 percent of respondents thought it would change things for the better, 37 percent thought it would make things worst. While 39 percent said it would have no effect. And when you figure the sampling error, almost works out to even across the board.
The responses to the second question total 110 percent, an unlikely result. Unless, of course, the poll were taken in Chicago by federally funded ACORN operatives. That doesn't appear to be the case. The actual poll question (#23) and results:
Thinking about the health care and health insurance that is available to you and your immediate family, do you think the proposals in the Senate bill would change things for the better, change things for the worse, or not make any real changes at all?
Dec. 16-20, 2009
Change things for the better 22%
Change things for the worse 37%
No change 39%
No opinion 2%
So more than three out of four respondents think that the Senate plan will either have no effect or change things for the worse for their own families. Only slightly more than one out of five persons polled believe the Senate bill will make it better. Hill was completely wrong in concluding the result "almost works out to even across the board."
It's likely the erroneous number came from replies to another question in the survey, one that asked respondents about the impact on "most Americans" rather than their own families. That larger number could be attributable to the barrage of mainstream media stories highlighting people seemingly hurt by the current system.
No, I don't think Erica Hill intentionally misrepresented her network's findings. It's interesting, however, that neither she nor her script writer nor anyone else at CNN caught the error, especially since the graphic (I believe) reflected the correct numbers. Could it be because they'd expect more public support for the Senate's health care plan?
Will CNN correct the record for its viewers? It is, after all, the most trusted name in news.