Don’t fixate on the specific numbers, actually, as the sample’s a bit shady. Fox polls always have a narrower gap between Democrats and Republicans than most other pollsters — usually two or three points — but this time there’s no gap at all: 38 percent Democrat, 38 percent Republican. So forget the fact that opposition is at a new high, which is probably an artifact of the heavy GOP presence, and just focus on the spread. Even at this late date, even if you toss a few points into the “yes” column to adjust for the sample, you’re still looking at net opposition in the high teens — and this is from a poll taken on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, after Reid announced his Medicare “compromise.” Not good enough? Here’s the trend on the poll of polls, which doesn’t even include these Fox numbers yet:

Plain and simple, whatever they pass is going to be radioactive. And yet, they’ve convinced themselves that passing nothing would be worse. Would it?

Similarly, while 41 percent of Americans want Congress to pass major health care reform legislation this year, a 54 percent majority says they would rather Congress “do nothing on health care for now,” up from 48 percent who felt that way in July.

Small wonder, when most people think the reforms will cost them money, and nearly twice as many think the quality of their health care will be worse rather than better.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) think the reforms will cost them money, up from 58 percent who thought so previously (July 2009). Fewer than one in four people — 23 percent — currently think the plan will save them money.

By 52 percent to 28 percent, Americans say the quality of health care their family receives would be worse under the proposed plan.

I don’t think I’ve seen a poll yet, or at least recently, where more people thought care would improve and/or costs would decline than vice versa. Question: Given that the left seems to hate everything congressional Democrats come up with at least as much as conservatives do, how exactly is passing a bill essential to turning out their base next November? Passing a bill with a robust public option might turn them out, but a robust public option was never going to happen. In fact, Pelosi herself bowed to reality and backed away from it this morning, prompting the sort of tragicomic melodrama that the left does so well. Never mind the fact that one of the engineers of the public option thinks Reid’s Medicare idea is super-keen and that, as WaPo explains, “it could be a bigger step toward a single-payer system than the milquetoast public option plans rejected by Senate moderates as too disruptive of the private market.” They want their damned public option and they’re not going to get it. So why go to the polls next year?

I’ll leave you with this snippet from last night’s Olby, in which Murrow addressed the death of the public plan with the sort of restraint and understatement for which he’s justly famous. Exit fun fact from the Fox poll: 65 percent of Democrats approve of how Obama’s handling the deficit. Really.

Update: Change brings hope:

The three moderates – Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), whose votes could make or break health reform this year — expressed varying degrees of resistance to the Medicare idea.

Snowe said the Medicare expansion exacerbates an “already-serious problem” with the low government reimbursement rates for doctors and hospitals that serve Medicare patients. It could force her to vote no, she said.

Lieberman indicated that he was growing “increasingly concerned” about the proposal.

And Nelson said allowing people between ages 55 and 64 to purchase Medicare coverage could simply be an intermediate step on the way to an entirely government-run health care system – “which I do not like.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if this thing does not become a viable option,” Nelson said. “I think it is going to be the lesser of the popular things but I am keeping an open mind.”

It’s not dead yet, but the AP reports that changes are being “considered.”