Weird poll results … explained by the “power of free”.


This was a wild week for ObamaCare.

First, there’s the steady stream “You’re stupid, America” videos from Prof. Jon Gruber.

Then, the 2nd Annual Open Enrollment period started for the Federal Health Insurance Exchange.

No big news there.

But, the combo of Gruber and the Open Enrollment, got the pollsters springing into action … with the politicos spinning like tops.

A couple of Gallup polls made news … with seemingly contradictory results.

The first was headlined:




The second poll reported that moe than 70% of the folks who got their insurance through the Federal Exchange rated it as “good” or “excellent” …



Seems contradictory, right?

Is it 37% or 70%?

Let’s drill down a bit to reconcile the numbers …




First, Gallup has been tracking approval & disapproval of ObamaCare for a couple of years.

They poll a sample of all Americans … and the most recent poll reports disapproval at an all-time high of 56%… and approval at an all-time low 37%.

Again, that’s a survey of all Americans.



OK, now let’s look at the 70%.

Gallup polled people who obtained insurance on the new Exchanges last year.

Gallup asked, how would you rate the quality of your insurance coverage?

More than 70 percent rated it as “good” or “excellent.”




Wow … 70% … that’s pretty good, right?

Well, let’s break it down.

First, there’s a lot of research on the so-called “top box effect”.

In a nutshell, it says to only take “excellent” and “poor” results seriously.

Stuff in the middle is usually muddled junk.

OK, taking just the “excellent” ratings gets us to 25% to 32%

But, folks can quibble about the haircut,


So, let’s look at something more robust: the “power of free.”

It’s common sense that people like stuff that’s free … and market tests have proven the notions

Approximately 75% of the folks who get their insurance through the exchanges get tax-payer provided subsidies … a vast plurality gets the insurance for free.

(That’s why I’ve been saying “obtained, not “bought”)

So, this Gallup poll doesn’t really say much about ObamaCare … but it says a lot about the power of free.

Give people stuff for free and they’re usually pretty satidified with it.

Make ‘em pay, and the threshold increases.

My bet: the 1 in 3 folks who rate their Exchange insurance as “fair” or poor” are the folks who are throwing some of their own money into the pot.

It’s simply the power of free… and, not free.



Follow on Twitter @KenHoma            >> Latest Posts

One Response to “Weird poll results … explained by the “power of free”.”

  1. jpgoetz Says:

    I’d like to see numbers about how many “Excellent” and “Good” raters had insurance coverage beforehand (and how much it cost them, then and now).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: