What interests me is the conclusion drawn by UI at the end:
This is a huge majority of people. I sure hope Democrats can find a spine to get real health care reform. I’m getting a bit tired of the Congress thwarting the will of the people. A public option for health care is not controversial! People are not buying the status quo defenders scare tactics about wait times and protecting the profits of those poor, put-upon health insurance executives.
What I am left wondering is at what polling point the will of the people kicks in.
According to the most recent ABC News/WaPo poll in April, 74% of Americans support stricter immigration controls.
According to the most recent Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll in May, 66% of Americans support either gay marriage or civil unions.
According to the most recent CBS News/NYT poll this month, 62% of Americans support stricter limitations on abortion or making it completely illegal.
According to the most recent Gallup Poll in March, 59% of Americans support or somewhat support increased use of nuclear power plants to address our energy problems.
Of course, you can often avoid this thorny issue of how much above 50% does a poll have to go before it becomes a magic mandate by simply choosing the poll that fits your pre-existing beliefs.
According to the June 2009 NBC News/WSJ poll, 63% of Americans believe that Affirmative Action is still necessary, while a similarly dated Quinnipiac University poll maintains that 55% of Americans think Affirmative Action should be abolished.
If you select your polling outfit as carefully as polling outfits select their response pools, you can pretty much prove that a majority of the American people believe almost anything.
President Clinton practiced government by triangulation and Speaker Gingrich used only items polling well above 50% in his Contract with America. Both were politically successful with that strategy, but it then raises disquieting issues of exactly why we are supposed to have a republic in the first place.
Do I vote for a candidate because I trust her judgment, or do I vote for a candidate who will always follow the will of the majority?
This is sort of like asking American Christians, do you get to Heaven by being saved [faith] or by living a good life [works]?
To both either/or questions the American answer is usually a resounding YES.