62 percent support new health care legislation, not Barack Obama's particular plan

The Truth-O-Meter Says:

"A new poll shows 62 percent support the president's plan to reform health care. That means ... letting you choose between keeping the private insurance you have and a public health insurance plan."

Americans United for Change on Sunday, June 14th, 2009 in an Internet ad


It's true that polls show solid majorities of the American public think the health care system needs change.

But there's a big difference between general support for health care legislation and the particulars of Obama's plan. The ad from Americans United for Change cites a Diageo Hotline Poll of June 10, 2009, saying that it showed 62 percent support for "the president's plan to reform health care." The actual question was this: "Do you support or oppose Congress and the president enacting a major overhaul of the U.S. health care system?" That question gauges whether people broadly support the president and Congress working together to change health care. (The poll was a random sample of 800 registered voters, and the Hotline is part of the nonpartisan news group National Journal.)

But the ad repeatedly cites the number in a misleading way. It makes it sound as if the 62 percent singled out the president's plan for support. It further distorts the poll by saying that same 62 percent backs a public health insurance plan, sometimes referred to as a public option. When the ad mentions the public option, a big "62%" flashes on the screen.
Well, it is a political ad. So, 'barely true' is generally acceptable, but false; that's pretty bad.

Politifact should have their own TV show with a big Truth-O-Meter.