George Will’s selective approach to polls

GEORGE WILL’S SELECTIVE APPROACH TO POLLS…. In his latest Newsweek column, conservative George Will thinks President Obama is doing wonders for the Republican Party. As proof, he offers this tidbit.

[Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell] of the Mona Lisa smile says Congress will pass something because Obama will sign anything. McConnell notes, however, that never in his 25 Senate years have Republicans polled close to Democrats when the question is: Which party do you trust most to deal with health care? Until now. Last week’s polling: Democratic Party, 41; Republican Party, 39 — a statistical dead heat.

I’m going to assume that Will is relying on Rasmussen data — Rasmussen tends to offer numbers Republicans want to hear — to characterize Dems vs. GOP as being in a “dead heat” on health care.

But a more credible look at the data suggests Will needs to broaden his polling horizons. The latest Washington Post poll, which was published after Will’s deadline, asked Americans who they trust more to handle health care reform. A 48% plurality sided with President Obama, 36% prefer congressional Republicans.

A CBS News poll taken two weeks ago asked, “Regardless of how you usually vote, who do you think has better ideas about reforming the health care system: Barack Obama, or the Republicans in Congress?” Half (50%) of respondents backed the president, only 23% sided with Republicans.

And for that matter, an NBC News poll taken in mid-August asked, “Do you generally approve or disapprove of the way that Republicans in Congress are handling the issue of health care reform?” A 62% majority said they disapprove of the GOP’s handling of the matter.

Will honestly seems to think health care reform is helping the Republican Party thrive. There’s ample evidence to the contrary.