In our most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll respondents were asked:
"Which of these would you prefer – (a plan that includes some form of government-sponsored health insurance for people who can’t get affordable private insurance, but is approved without support from Republicans in Congress); or (a plan that is approved with support from Republicans in Congress, but does not include any form of government-sponsored health insurance for people who can’t get affordable private insurance)?"
Fifty one percent said they preferred the public option; 37 percent said they preferred a bill with some support from Republicans in Congress. Six percent said neither and seven percent expressed no opinion.
The question has some relevance, since Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, is the only Republican lawmaker to show willingness to vote for a health care reform bill pushed by Democrats, but she opposes the public option. Some in the White House have worked hard to bring Snowe on board, thinking she provides cover for moderate Democrats and wanting to be able to say they passed a bill with bipartisan support. Some in Congress have argued that Snowe's support is not worth it, given her opposition to the public option.
Earlier this month I asked White House spokesman Robert Gibbs which the president preferred, and he didn't really answer the question.