The Washington Post

Poll Watchers: Health care and the deficit, consumer confidence, Title IX and polling Hispanics

• Health care and the deficit: As in most political battles, defining the terms makes a big difference. The latest Health Tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds 57 percent rejecting any spending reductions on Medicare as a way to reduce the federal deficit. But how potential changes to Medicare are described can result in widely differing reactions. Kaiser asked people who said they’d prefer to keep Medicare as is (a system of defined benefits) what they thought if changes lead to deficit reduction, more choice for seniors and greater competition among providers. Under this scenario, 54 percent of these people would support changing Medicare. But an alternative scenario was posed to people who initially wanted to change Medicare to a system of greater choice and competition. When confronted with the hypothetical scenario that such changes could result in greater individual costs and fewer benefits, 68 percent of these people said they’d prefer to keep Medicare as it is now.

• Consumer Confidence and gas prices: Bloomberg’s weekly index of consumer sentiment ticked down after four weeks of gains. Rising gas prices have soured the public mood. A Post-ABC poll reported on Monday that 71 percent say they are experiencing financial hardship due to increasing gas prices.

• Sex discrimination in sports: A CBS News/New York Times poll finds 78 percent saying Title IX – the 1972 law to end-gender based discrimination in schools – has been good for women. Men have slightly more positive views on this federal law than women, 84 to 72 percent. Specifically as it relates to sports, 62 percent of men say the overall impact of Title IX has been positive. Again, slightly fewer women – 55 percent – see it as positive.

• Polling Hispanics: The arguments for and against the practice of using Spanish surnames for sampling Hispanic poll respondents from lists of registered voters are laid out in competing memos from Andre Pineda on one side (mostly against it) and Matt Bareto and Gary Segura on the other (mostly for it).  

Peyton M. Craighill is polling manager for the Washington Post. Peyton reports and conducts national and regional news polls for the Washington Post, with a focus on politics, elections and other social and economic issues.

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