Talking Points Memo highlights a recent survey that posed the illogical question “Do you think the government should stay out of Medicare?”
As it turns out, 39% of voters think government should stay out of Medicare, compared to 46% who disagree.
Among Republicans, 62% say the government should stay out of Medicare, compared to only 24% of Democrats and 31% of independents who agree.
The problem with using this as evidence of a profound level of ignorance in the US public (not that I don’t think it exists) is precisely in the illogic of the question. I would have a hard time deciding to make of the question if I wasn’t aware of the guy yelling “Keep your government hands off my Medicare!” at a town hall.
It’s entirely reasonable to think that some, maybe even most, of the respondents who agreed that government should stay out of Medicare may have meant one of the following: a) the government should privatize Medicare b) that the government should leave Medicare alone and not make any changes to it.
Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.