Support for a public option remains strong

SUPPORT FOR A PUBLIC OPTION REMAINS STRONG…. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told CBS this morning that the public option just isn’t popular. “You know, in the house, as you know, the bill that will make its way to floor will most likely have what Speaker Pelosi continues to insist is a public option,” Cantor said. “You know, that has been resoundingly rejected by the American people.”

If by “rejected,” Cantor meant “widely embraced by most of the country,” he’s exactly right.

[T]oday, Democrats can find some encouraging poll data in the latest Quinnipiac survey on national attitudes on the health care overhaul.

Including a government-run insurance option — the most controversial part of the debate — is supported by a nearly two-to-one margin, 61%-34%.

Looking through the crosstabs, the results have to be encouraging to reform advocates. The wording of the question was, “Do you support or oppose giving people the option of being covered by a government health insurance plan that would compete with private plans?” Americans in every age group, every income level, and every racial background sided with the public option. More than a third (38%) of self-identified conservatives supported it.

The idea has been “resoundingly rejected by the American people”? I don’t think so.

Not all of the results in the Quinnipiac were welcome for Democrats. A plurality still oppose the reform plan, and President Obama’s approval rating was 50%.

But in general, the results of the poll were awful for Republicans. Only 25% approve of the job congressional Republicans are doing; 25% have a favorable opinion of the GOP; 29% believe Republicans are acting in good faith; and 31% trust the GOP to handle health care (16 points lower than the president).

Cantor’s bravado this morning isn’t backed up by anything empirical.