As the healthcare fight reaches the Senate floor, we took a new national survey to figure out how best to battle against this proposal that would so deform our nation's vital healthcare system.
We found out how to do it: Reach out to young people.
Our work, and that of the League of American Voters, with whom we are affiliated but have no financial relationship, has been aimed at the elderly in the past few months. As a result of these and other efforts, the elderly now oppose Obamacare by more than 20 points (31-54 in our poll).
The survey shows that we have about gotten all the support from them that we are going to get.
But voters under 30 are a different story. The polling showed that they start off supporting Obamacare more than any other age group: For those under 30, fully 58 percent support it, while 30 percent oppose it. By contrast, among those 65 and older 31 percent support it and 54 percent oppose it.
But, it turns out young people's 2-to-1 support for the program is based on an almost total ignorance of what it calls for.
After we read them (in the poll) a fair and unbiased description of the program, their support faded.
Here's what we read to them:
The healthcare bill, pushed by President Obama and the Democrats, would require everyone to buy health insurance or pay a fine for failing to do so.
People could keep their current insurance if their employer provided it and agreed to continue it. Insurance companies would be required to insure all applicants regardless of pre-existing conditions. People would be offered subsidies to buy insurance if their household incomes were below $70,000 a year and if their insurance cost more than 8 percent of their incomes ($5,600 for a $70,000-a-year family). The program will cost one trillion dollars over 10 years.
This plain vanilla rendition of what Obama proposes had a startling impact! Voters under 30, who had approved of the plan by 58-30 before they heard the description, now backed it by only 55-40, a loss of 13 points!
Then we read voters a list of all the arguments pro and con on the bill. We alternated the arguments to be sure that nobody could see any bias in the poll. After the arguments, the views of all other age groups were largely unchanged. But people under 30 now said they opposed the bill by 43-45 — a mega-shift of 30 points!
So . . . our strategy will be to replicate this process, only in reality.
We will run television and radio ads and Internet messages aimed at young voters to educate them about this bill.
Will congressional Democrats listen? Without the support of the young, polls will reflect the massive unpopularity of this bill. With each drop in its approval, you can hear the liberals groan. If the polling shows approval dropping into the 30s — and as young people switch, it will — we can defeat this bill on the floor!
Based on the same polling techniques I use to win elections, we have discovered Obama's vulnerable underbelly: his base of uninformed young voters. And we will hammer away — with your help.
This process won't be inexpensive. It costs a lot to reach young people, but with your financial help, we can do it. Go here to find out how.
© Dick Morris & Eileen McGann