Yesterday I saw Boehner on TV saying something like “not a single person outside of congress and government has come up to me and told me they want the public option.”
So what does that mean. Given that polls consistently show at least 50% support for the public option, let’s take 50% as a conservative estimate. Let’s suppose that Beohner would have met 10 random constituents (I would hope that a good representative would meet and talk to more than 10 people he is representing about the main issue of the year). The probability that all 10 of them are against the public option is 0.1%, that is 1 in 1000.
So the probability that Boehner met 10 constituents (and not just 10 of his own supporters) is 0.1%. In fact the expected number of constituents he met is 1. Ohio’s 8th district has population greater than 1. That he met a 100 constituents, the probability is on the order of percent. Suppose that there are 1 million lottery tickets sold. I have better chance of winning the jackpot 5 times in a row, than that Boehner talked to 100 constituents.
I can see someone objecting: But the support is not 50% if you ask the right question (I’ll leave the fallacies of that argument aside). Let’s suppose for the sake of argument that only 20% of people support the public option. That is waaaaay below what even the most conservative of pollsters give. I mean there are more liberal democrats in the country than 20%, and I’d assume they would want far more than just a public option. Still, even with those unrealistic odds, with probability greater than 50%, Boehner met at most 4 of his constituents. The probability that he met 100 constituents is on the order of percent. I still have way better odds of winning the lottery by several orders of magnitude. That would be like winning the lottery if 100 million tickets were sold.
What is the conclusion: With almost concrete certainty, I can conclude that Boehner is either 1) lying, or 2) does not meet many constituents. In fact, with better than 90% certainty, Boehner met less than actual 4 constituents about heathcare. Meeting only with people that support your opinion is NOT meeting with your constituents.