Politico cites GOP polling firm on health care reform, omits ties to health care industry

A Politico article cited exit polling data from Republican firm Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates, in asserting that opposition to health care reform “was the most important issue” in Republican Scott Brown's victory in the Massachusetts Senate election. Politico made no mention of the fact that some of Fabrizio, McLaughlin and Associates' clients have expressed opposition to aspects of health care reform legislation, including the U.S. Chamber of Congress, Blue Cross-Blue Shield, and the American Health Care Association.

In reporting firm's polling on health care reform, Politico ignored its health care industry clients

Politico: “Brown's opposition to congressional health care legislation was the most important issue,” according to Fabrizio, McLaughlin. From the January 20 Politico article:

Scott Brown's opposition to congressional health care legislation was the most important issue that fueled his U.S. Senate victory in Massachusetts, according to exit poll data collected following the Tuesday special election.

Fifty-two percent of Bay State voters who were surveyed as the polls closed said they opposed the federal health care reform measure and 42 percent said they cast their ballot to help stop President Obama from passing his chief domestic initiative.

“I'm not surprised it was the top issue, but I was surprised by how overwhelming an issue it was. It became a focal point for the frustration that has been brewing with voters, and it's a very personal issue that affects everyone,” said Tony Fabrizio of Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates, a Republican firm that conducted the exit poll of 800 voters.

“A plurality of voters said their vote was to stop the president's health care plan -- more than those saying it was a vote against his policies in general,” Fabrizio wrote in a memo that accompanied his exit polling.

With all the precincts counted, Brown defeated Martha Coakley Tuesday by a five point spread, 52 to 47 percent. No news organizations conducted exit polls of the race.

According to Fabrizio's findings, 48 percent of Massachusetts voters said that health care was the single issue driving their vote and 39 percent said they voted for Brown specifically because of his vocal opposition to the measure.

Politico ignored Fabrizio, McLaughlin's industry clients that have opposed aspects of health care reform. Despite quoting Tony Fabrizio of Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates stating, “I'm not surprised [health care reform] was the top issue, but I was surprised by how overwhelming an issue it was,” the Politico article did not mention that the firm's clients include nonprofit and corporate clients that have expressed opposition to at least some provisions in health care reform legislation that has been considered during the 111th Congress. Fabrizio, McLaughlin's list of clients includes:

  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which responded to Senate passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by stating that “the bill that was passed by the Senate today is counterproductive, does little to lower the cost of health care, and it is not reform. It implements crippling new taxes, and hurts our ability to create jobs at the worst possible time for the economy.”
  • Blue Cross-Blue Shield, which responded to House passage of the Affordable Health Care for America Act by stating that “the bill creates a new government-run plan that jeopardizes affordability and access to coverage for the 160 million people who receive their benefits through their employers today; makes health coverage much more expensive, particularly for individuals and small employers; and represents a massive federal takeover of state regulatory functions.”
  • The American Health Care Association, which has advocated against Medicare cuts in health care reform legislation.