Obama to Talk Health Care on Fox But Conservatives Won't Be Swayed

Obama will take to Fox News tonight to talk health-care reform. "Many of the falsehoods and myths about health reform gained traction with Glenn Beck and others on Fox, so the president is returning to the scene of the crime to make the final sale," a White House official explained to Politico earlier today.

It sounds like a sensible calculation: dismantle arguments about government takeovers and death panels, up popular support. In fact, NEWSWEEK tested out that idea in our most recent poll. We wanted to know: when Americans learn more about health-care reform, do they support it more? Turns out, while that is indeed the case for liberals, conservatives are not likely to support health-care reform when they know what it actually does.

More from the poll: in late February, we asked Americans if they supported Obama's health-reform plan and got a pretty predictable response: only 15 percent of self-described conservatives supported the plan versus 72 percent of liberals.

We then dug a little deeper. We explained eight specific proposals to change the health-care system, things like requiring all Americans to have health insurance and barring insurer discrimination against those with preexisting conditions. After getting through the list, we revealed that these eight proposals were the main components of the Democrats' plan. We asked our question again: do you support Obama's plan to reform health care?

Liberals were a whole lot more likely to favor health-care reform after hearing information: 72 percent support prior to learning about health reform shot up to 83 percent afterward.

Conservatives, however, were a completely different story: they moved from 15 to 18 percent support. This shift, I should point out, was within the poll's 3.6 percent margin of error, meaning that, statistically speaking, conservatives did not change their opinions at all.

Why don't conservatives support health-care reform? Perhaps the myths—which are indeed plentiful—have gotten too much traction for the Democrats to dispel at this point. Conservatives may have soured on health-care reform because of the drawn-out political battles and have philosophical objections to Obama's plan. My bet is it's some combination of these elements. Taken as a whole, they mean Obama is battling a pretty formidable opponent tonight.