Health-Care Protesters Winning Sympathy: Poll

34% 'more sympathetic' to protesters, 21% less
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 13, 2009 10:58 AM CDT
Police work to keep control of protesters at Portsmouth High School in in Portsmouth, N.H., Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009, where President Obama will speak about his health care plan.   (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
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(Newser) – Town-hall protesters have succeeded in making some Americans “more sympathetic” to their health care views, a USA Today/Gallup poll finds. Of 1,000 adults surveyed, 34% say they’re now more sympathetic of the protesters’ stance, while 21% say they’re less. Among independents, that grows to a 2-to-1 ratio: 35% are more sympathetic, 16% less, USA Today notes.

“Polls of this nature, however, are notoriously slippery,” notes Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight. “If there were some protest in favor of a policy that I supported, I'd probably tell a pollster that the protest had in fact made me more sympathetic to the cause, even though my mind on the issue was already 100% made up.” Obama adviser David Axelrod is also dismissive of the findings, citing “a media fetish" about the protests.