A surprisingly helpful RNC poll

A SURPRISINGLY HELPFUL RNC POLL…. In general, when the Republican National Committee releases results of an internal public opinion poll, it’s best to view it with a skeptical eye. We’re not, after all, talking about a reliable, independent source for accurate surveys.

That said, I found this report from Dave Weigel interesting.

I noticed in Massachusetts that the idea of “backroom deals” and horse-trading to bring on extra votes in the Senate — to get the bill to 60 — was far more unpopular than any aspect of the bill itself.

An internal RNC poll, released to the press this afternoon, backs that up. By far, senators who make “backroom deals” are less popular than senators who merely support health care reform.

I don’t know if that’s true, but let’s say, just for the sake of discussion, that the RNC poll is accurate. Indeed, there’s been some other polls pointing in similar directions — folks have concerns about the legislation, but they’re especially turned off by the process. Fine.

In the bigger picture, isn’t this a good thing for Democrats and reform proponents? If much of the opposition to reform seen in the polls is driven by dissatisfaction with procedural machinations, and the ugly process is put behind us once the legislation is signed into law, then doesn’t it stand to reason that the result will be a more popular initiative once the wheeling and dealing is done?

I suspect Dems, if given a choice, would much prefer that Americans dislike the process more than the policy, precisely because the policy is what will matter most when all is said and done. If my self-employed neighbor can finally get coverage, if my aunt with a pre-existing condition can finally afford insurance, if my Mom isn’t going to get stuck in the Medicare “donut hole,” if my former colleague can finally overcome job-lock and start that small business he’s been thinking about, if my 22-year-old cousin can get back onto her parents’ insurance plan, it’s not going to occur to me to think, “You know, I never cared for budget reconciliation.”

Every major piece of legislation in American history has been the result of some deal-making — this is really the first time the media has ever shown an interest in documenting it in real time.

But the sausage-making process is nearing an end, and folks tend to like good sausages once they’re ready to eat. The RNC poll, to my mind, is encouraging.

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Steve Benen

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.