Yesterday, we looked at some dubious claims by the Resurgent Republic poll of Hispanics on the issue of national security. The poll was conducted by the Republican firm, the Tarrance Group. On the issue of health care, they make another interesting claim:
Providing federal funding for abortion has become an integral part of the health care debate. A majority (55 percent) of Hispanics identify themselves as pro-life, including 48 percent of Hispanic voters who hold this position “strongly.” Government funding for abortions will be a significant concern to many of these voters.
It should relieve those who participated in this poll that the bill being voted on this weekend retains current restrictions on the federal financing of abortions. This has been a contentious issue for pro-choice groups who think the bill goes too far in restricting access to reproductive health services.
To see how they reached this conclusion, we went through the questionnaire to find the exact wording of the question they must have asked about abortion funding in the health care bill. Resurgent Republic does not ask any questions about whether “government funding for abortions will be a significant concern” to Hispanic voters.
In 1995, my former boss Harrison Hickman had me write my first in-depth analysis of voter attitudes on health care for a North Carolina insurance company. Every time I based a conclusion on anything other than the exact data or by describing the questions exactly as asked, I would get red-lined strikethroughs on every word along with snide comments asking how I could read voters’ minds to come to that conclusion since it was not based on the data.
The Resurgent Republic conclusion might be right. Hispanics might have serious concerns about abortion funding in the health bill. But we don’t know that from examining this poll and neither does Resurgent Republic or the Tarrance Group.
One other note, when you do look at the questions that were actually asked, 58% of Hispanics support the health care reforms being debated in Washington DC while just 31% oppose them.