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Monday, June 25, 2012

Healthcare Poll Insanity

Last Friday I did a post on the PUSH site showing how healthcare polling has remained consistent in the weeks leading up to the Supreme Court's Decision on the Affordable Care Act.  Last night I came across a tweet by Michele Bachmann stating:
The tweet was retweeted by 130 of her 137,300 followers and favorited by 12.  These followers have hundreds to thousands who can pass this on to their followers.  This is what is meant by going viral.

I did follow the tiny.cc link above to the report and found that it came from the Doctor Patient Medical Association which faxed or mailed 16,227 forms to doctors nationwide and 4.3% were returned or a total of 699.  I have worked on mail surveys of physicians and getting a large response rate can be a problem unlike phone surveys.  Mail in surveys are cheaper than phone but incentives are often needed to increase response rates.  Even with a small incentive a response rate of 25% is typical.  Small response rates may not be a problem if those who respond are representative of those who did not.  For this poll, with a response rate that low it may be hard to justify that it is representative.  They do provide demographics but do not compare it to national physician demographics. 

It's so tempting to jump to conclusions on research findings when it's supports what one already believes.  It's tempting to rip on congresswoman Bachmann because of her past statements, as Jon Stewart does below.  I'll stick to this statement and her comment above.  Others who haven't made as many outrageous statements can just as easily make the same mistake without reading the results more carefully.  This is also meant to show the power and peril of social media like Facebook and Twitter. . Remember the hysteria caused by Sarah Palin's death panels post on Facebook? How many people still believe her?



**Update**


Sarah Palin has resurrected her 'death panels' claim on her Facebook page to her 3.4 million followers.  It has been shared by 369 and "liked" by 1,479 since being posted on Monday.  The LA Times debunks it here.

 
**Related Posts**

Healthcare Polls in Anticipation of SCOTUS Decision 

 

Health Care Law - New Rasmussen Poll Down the Memory Hole

 

Overall Health System Performance - The Commonwealth Fund

 

Questioning Effectiveness

 

What is Sanity?