The Pew Center for the People and the Press just released a new poll showing that overall support for the health care proposals being discussed on the Hill has dropped significantly since President Obama’s September speech to the Joint Session of Congress.

Support for the president’s health care reform is now at just 34%, down from 42% in September.  Opposition to the proposals has remained relatively steady – “currently 47% oppose the proposals, compared with 44% last month.”

Among women, support has dropped nearly 10 points from 45% in September to 36% in October.

It’s not surprising that public support is waning, especially among women. According to Pew, health care was “the most heavily covered news story” between September 28 and October 4, “accounting for 11% of all news coverage.”

There’s an entire academic literature devoted to the study of public opinion.  And the consensus among scholars is that shifts in mass opinion are largely a product of elite discourse – especially on polarizing, complicated or generally unfamiliar policies.

Even more specifically, individuals generally rely on beliefs or opinions that are most accessible to them. So, what people have been hearing recently has the greatest impact on their current opinion of health care reform.

That’s why it’s so important that groups like IWF continue pointing out the dangerous potential of government-run health care and propose consumer-driven alternatives.