Hey, kids! Have you heard the one about the poll that indicates that 65% of doctors are against health care reform, and that 45% of doctors hate it so much that they would totally go Galt, quit the lucrative medical profession altogether, and live off the land like the noble Cherokee? Yeah, well, you can all calm down, because that poll is crazy.
Said findings were commissioned and reported by Investor's Business Daily, which has been responsible for some serious lulus of late. The Awl's Alex Balk points out that the publication's previous contribution to the health care reform debate was to assert that "if Stephen Hawking lived in England, the death panels would have killed him by now." It was a bold assertion, especially considering the fact that Hawking does live in England, and credits that nation's National Health Service for the provision of "large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived." Its editors are also the geniuses who brought us the poll that insisted that Senator John McCain would win the youth vote in the 2008 presidential campaign to the tune of 74-22, results that can only be achieved if you restrict your polling sample to the staff of McCainBlogette.
Anyway, Nate Silver spits hot fire all over this new nonsense, pointing out that, among other faults, the IBD poll was conducted by mail, that the paper reported its results before all the responses were in, that the questions were not objective, and that terms like "practicing physician" were not clearly defined.
My advice would be to completely ignore this poll. There are pollsters out there that have an agenda but are highly competent, and there are pollsters that are nonpartisan but not particularly skilled. Rarely, however, do you find the whole package: that special pollster which is both biased and inept. IBD/TIPP is one of the few exceptions.
IBD/TIPP Doctors Poll Is Not Trustworthy [FiveThirtyEight]
45% Of Doctors Will Not Quit Practicing If Health Care Reform Happens [The Awl]
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