Polls consistently show that more Americans than not fear that both the House and Senate versions of Obamacare will result in less and poorer-quality treatment for them. Hmm, how to get around that if you’re part of the mainstream media that’s dying to help push Obamacare into law ?

Mickey Kaus offers a suggestion: ask different,  deliberately obfuscatory poll questions!

Here’s a sample question quoted by Mickey from the CBS/New York Times poll released today:

23. Which comes closest to your view? 1. The U.S. needs to fix its health care system now as party of fixing the overall economy. Or 2. Because of the state of the economy, the U.S. cannot afford to fix its health care system right now.

Writes Mickey:

Unless you want to be a heartless Republican (2) you have to buy not only the basic [White House Budget Director Peter] Orszagist argument the health care reform is the key to solving the deficit problem but the broader argument that it’s the key to fixing the entire economy? What if you just think it’s something we should do and that we can afford to pay for? … No wonder respondents were so confused by the poll’s barrage of nonsensical, tedious, and guilt inducing questions (“are [health care reforms] confusing to you?”) that when the big question (#41) about whether they supported Obama’s health plans finally arrived, CBS and the Times managed to produce an unprecedentedly huge number who said they “don’t know enough”–47%–rendering the poll basically useless. Congratulations! … The Paranoid View: For the Times, it was less risky to have a useless poll than one that actually measured where health care stands with voters.

Now I don’t agree with Mickey that it’s “heartless” to oppose a government takeover of 18 percent of the economy at a time when the economy is already staggering through 10 percent unemployment and scarcely needs another $1.5 trillion added to taxpayers’ burdens. But I agree wholeheartedly with Mickey that the CBS/NYT poll, by setting up false dichotomies such as Question 23, seemed deliberately designed to mask the true extent of Americans’ distrust for the kind of healthcare reform that Obama and the Democratic Congress would like to wish on them.

Finder’s fee: Althouse