Following reports that Senate leaders will include a public option in health care legislation, on Fox & Friends, Glenn Beck falsely suggested that only “35 percent of the population” supported a public option and accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of lying when he said, in co-host Gretchen Carlson's words, “the public wants this.” In fact, polling consistently shows broad support for the public option, and the Fox News poll Beck is presumably referencing did not ask specifically about a public option.
Beck: Only 35 percent favor public option, and Dems “just jam it down your throats anyway”
From the October 27 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
STEVE DOOCY (co-host): It looks as if Harry Reid's hands were tied by the left wing of his party --
DOOCY: -- because now he's saying, “OK, OK, OK, we will roll out something with a public option.”
DOOCY: And apparently he's got 58 votes, according to some Democrats. Not quite the magic number --
BECK: Magic number.
DOOCY: -- of 60. But he's got 58.
BECK: Yeah, the public option is coming. I mean, I was driving in, I was listening in to you guys, and I thought to myself, when -- when in our history have we had 35 percent of the population for something, and they just jam it down your throats anyway? I mean, they're going to do what they want to do.
GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): They interesting this is, one of the sound bites from Harry Reid yesterday, though. He said “the public wants this.” So --
CARLSON: -- you know, I mean, I guess it's just --
BECK: Well, you say a lie -- especially the bigger the lie, the easier it is to swallow -- you say it long enough -- I mean, that's why the name changed, too.
Numerous recent polls on public option found widespread support
Wash. Post/ABC poll: 57 percent support government plan “to compete with private health insurance plans.” When respondents were asked in an October 15-18 Washington Post/ABC News poll whether they would “support or oppose having the government create a new health insurance plan to compete with private health insurance plans,” 57 percent said they supported the plan.
CNN/Opinion Research: 61 percent favor creating public option “administered by the federal government.” When respondents were asked in an October 16-18 CNN/Opinion Research poll whether they “favor or oppose creating a public health insurance option administered by the federal government that would compete with plans offered by private health insurance companies,” 61 percent said they favored the plan.
CBS News: 62 percent favor government offering “a government administered health insurance plan.” When respondents were asked in an October 5-8 CBS News poll whether they would “favor or oppose the government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan -- something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get -- that would compete with private health insurance plans,” 62 percent said they would support the plan.
Kaiser Family Foundation: 57 percent favor "[c]reating a government-administered public health insurance option." When respondents were asked in an October 8-15 Kaiser Family Foundation poll whether they favored "[c]reating a government-administered public health insurance option to compete with private health insurance plans," 57 percent said they favored such a plan.
USA Today/Gallup: 50 percent support a “public, government-run insurance plan.” When respondents were asked in an October 16-19 USA Today/Gallup poll, “If Congress passes a healthcare bill, do you think it should or should not include a public, government-run insurance plan to compete with plans offered by private insurance companies?” 50 percent said they thought the bill should have the plan.
Recent Fox News poll did not ask about public option
Fox News poll: 35 percent favor “reform legislation being considered.” A Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll released October 15 asked respondents, “Based on what you know about the health care reform legislation being considered right now, do you favor or oppose the plan?” Thirty-five percent said they favored “the plan,” 54 percent opposed, and 10 percent said they did not know.
Poll was conducted before Reid's compromise proposal was “being considered” by the public. The Fox News poll asked respondents whether they favored or opposed “the health care reform legislation being considered right now.” The poll did not specify which of “the health care reform legislation being considered” it was referring to, and at the time, there were at least three different proposed health care reform measures being considered by Congress. At the time the Fox News poll was conducted, Reid had not yet announced his proposal to include a public option in the forthcoming Senate compromise bill.