What “repeal” do people really want?

I’ve mentioned before and will again, just how inherently unreliable public opinion surveys are on issues of complicated public policy.  With the ongoing saga of health care reform, there’s ever more evidence for the folly of asking polling questions much more complicated than “who are you going to vote for” and expecting a coherent answer out of most persons.  The Times has taken the much-needed step of asking those 40-some percent of Americans in favor of repealing health care and asking them what, exactly, they want to repeal.   Via Kevin Drum:

I’ll give the 11% on the individual mandate some credit, but the rest, just tea party morons.  “Everything”?  Sounds like Sarah Palin’s response to what she reads to get her news.   In short, of those favoring repeal, a small percentage can offer up a coherent (though flawed– you simply cannot just take away the mandate without losing the good parts) rationale and the rest just now that Obamacare = socialism.   I don’t think Americans are particularly ignorant, I just think there’s a current political dynamic that encourages reality-denying ignorance among a certain set of Americans with particular political views.

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