QUESTION: Would you favor or oppose the government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan -- something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get -- that would compete with private health insurance plans? (Wording of NYT poll)
A solid majority (56%) of the people of Arkansas said they favored this proposal while only 37% said they were opposed. The interesting thing is this question is asking about a theoretical public option substantially to the left of the public option actually proposed in either the House or the Senate. In both cases, the public option is much more conservative, because it would not be offered to “everyone.” It would only be for the small segment of the population which has had the most trouble getting affordable health insurance (uninsured, self-employed, and small business).
Unlike the public option, Blanche Lincoln's favorability numbers are terrible in Arkansas. Only 41% of have a favorable view of her, while 49% view her unfavorably. This would probably explain why Arkansas Democrats would, for the most part, be less inclined to support her if she continued her opposition to the public option.Voting against a strong public option would make 46% of Democrats less likely to vote for Lincoln in a primary and only 11% Democrats more likely to back her in a primary. (Note: Lincoln has already twice voted against the public option in committee.)