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Poll: Amid Bayh's Skepticism, Indiana Voters Back Public Option

(AP Photo)
Coming on the heels of Sen. Evan Bayh's threat to potentially block Senate debate on health care reform, thus keeping the bill from being considered, a new poll is showing most of his constituents favor creating a government-run health insurance plan, or "public option."

In a Research 2000 poll conducted last weekend, 52 percent of Indiana residents said they favored the government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan like Medicare. Another 42 percent opposed the idea.

The poll was commissioned by the liberal groups the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC)and Democracy for America. PCCC has targeted moderate Democratic senators for their tepid support for health care reform, particularly on the public option. Most recently, it was part of a campaign to pressure Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to include a public option in the bill he brings to the Senate floor.

On CBS News' Washington Unplugged on Thursday, Bayh said the public option was not his main concern with Reid's health care bill. However, he said that depending on the fiscal impact of the bill, he would consider joining a Republican effort to prevent the Senate from even debating the bill on the floor.

If there are provisions in the bill that are unacceptable, "I think your maximum leverage for getting them corrected is now," Bayh said.

The Research 2000 poll, which had a margin of error of 4 points, showed that 62 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of Bayh, while only 30 percent have an unfavorable view of him.

Most would seemingly prefer he avoid a supporting a filibuster, however: Twenty-nine percent said they would be less likely to vote for Bayh in the general election in 2010 if he joined Republicans in a filibuster against the bill because of the public option. Eighteen percent said they would be more likely to vote for him, and 55 percent said it would have no effect.

Among Democrats, 54 percent said they would be less likely to support him in a primary, and 40 percent said it would have no effect. Six percent said they'd be more likely to vote for him.