QUINNIPIAC SHOWS STRONG SUPPORT FOR PUBLIC OPTION…. A new Quinnipiac poll reinforces what we’ve seen in other recent surveys: despite the rhetoric from insurance companies, Republicans, and “centrist” Democrats, a public option as part of health care reform enjoys broad support nationwide.

Although 69 percent of voters nationwide say Americans should have the option of government-run health insurance, only 28 percent would choose to be covered by it, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.

Specifically, the question read, “Do you support or oppose giving people the option of being covered by a government health insurance plan that would compete with private plans?” Overall, 69% support the public option, but just as important, even 50% of Republicans support it. Indeed, looking through the poll results, the public option enjoyed strong support across the board, including every income level, every ideology, every age group, every faith tradition, etc.

The same poll also found that most believe a public option would “keep insurance companies honest,” and would not, Republican arguments notwithstanding, “lead to the end of private health insurance.”

This is largely in line with several other recent national polls, all of which showed very strong support for a public plan as part of reform.

On Capitol Hill, this is one of the most, if not the most, contentious points in the larger debate. Outside of Washington, the measure doesn’t seem especially controversial at all.

Other tidbits from the Quinnipiac poll:

* A plurality would support paying more to help extend coverage to those who don’t already have health care insurance, but most wouldn’t want to pay more than $500 a year.

* 49% of Americans with private insurance are “very satisfied” with their plan. 54% of Americans with Medicare or Medicaid are “very satisfied” with their plan.

* Poll respondents prioritized lowering health care costs over covering the uninsured, but a majority believes the government has a “responsibility” to “make sure that everyone in the United States has adequate health care.”

* President Obama is considered more trustworthy on health care policy than congressional Republicans, 53% to 33%.

* Majorities of Americans oppose taxing employer health care benefits and individual mandates, but strongly support employer mandates.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.