WSJ Online quickly responded to my complaint about their poll. Check out the updated version which now includes a correction and amplificition. The amplificiation adds the methodology of the poll which Harris says is weighted to represent the U.S. population.
Figures for age, sex, race, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. In theory, with probability samples of this size, one can say with 95% certainty that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 2 percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. adult population had been polled with complete accuracy.
If that’s the case, then the headline writer was justified in using the term public. I apologize for calling the editors’ objectivity into question. Kudos to the Wall Street Journal Online team for being so quick to update this.
Since the 75 percent figure appears accurate, I must point out that had the term “universal health insurance” had been replaced with “government controlled health care,” the results would have likely been far lower. But, I’m just quibbling.