Either one shouldn’t take polls or 24 percent of the American public seriously. Of course, these are not mutually exclusive options. Kevin Drum summarizes the incongruence:
So 29% think government should be responsible for providing healthcare, but 53% approve of extending Medicare to cover everyone. Uh huh. And then this Blendon fellow suggests that maybe this contradiction is the result of people not realizing that Medicare is paid for with taxes. That’s completely crazy, of course, but it’s also quite possibly true.
I think this is not just ignorance, but the effect of several decades of conservative anti-government propaganda: at this point, I think if you asked, “Should government be responsible for providing national defense?”, a large chunk of Americans would reflexively say no. As maha put it:
A generation of Americans have been born and grown into adulthood listening to rightie propaganda that taxes must always go down. “Starve the beast,” you know. The problem is that “the beast” conservatives are starving is our country.