The U.S. Chamber of Echoes: Disingenuous use of Jane P. and Joe Q. Public’s opinion

It’s time for another installment of “Gee-whiz – Jacob loves a good screed!” The following is my response to an email from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, fishing for subscriber opinions on the health care bill signed into law by President Obama two years ago. The original message follows my text:

Mr. Engstrom,

Who cares what people “hear” or what the “buzz” is? Your framing of the issue implies that the negative “buzz” is true or justified, which only feeds hearsay. Instead, why don’t you, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, poll the businesses affected by the law and find out how they actually are affected, “by the numbers” and not just “by the water cooler.” Are more people insured? Are costs rising or falling? These are questions that matter, and I am unqualified to answer them. I am not an expert on budget or health care issues; are many of your other readers, members, or listserv subscribers? In that case, I’d love to read what they have to say, to see the evidence supporting those claims.

I find this echo-chamber polling strategy to be useless at best, and disingenuous at worst.

Spitting into the wind,
Jacob A. Bennett

Original message:

Dear Friend,

It has been a big week in health care news.

With a two year anniversary of the of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act today, and the Supreme Court considerations on the law’s constitutionality set to start next week, the health care overhaul and its implications on American families and businesses is at the center of an important debate.

ABC and the Washington Post have been gauging opinions from across the country in their new poll that showed that most Americans are not impressed:

Seventy percent of Americans report hearing mainly negative things about the law lately; just 19 percent say the buzz has been positive…

The Obama administration has long had difficulty convincing Americans of the benefits of the law In a January 2011 ABC/Post poll, for example more people expected the law to increase rather than decrease the deficit (62-29 percent), hurt rather than help the economy (54-39 percent) and cut rather than create jobs (46-38 percent).

These predictions aren’t optimistic about the next two years of implementation; expecting increased deficits, more harm to the economy, and fewer jobs as a result.

Do you feel the same?

Vote in our online poll. Tell us how Obamacare, two years in, is affecting you.

Your views and opinions help make our grassroots efforts stronger; giving us the guidance to most effectively fight for what you think is most important.


Rob Engstrom
Senior Vice President and National Political Director
U.S. Chamber of Commerce


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