From NBC's Mark Murray
As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid moves forward crafting a Senate health-care bill that contains a public option -- with a state "opt out" -- the latest NBC/WSJ poll shows support for a government-run insurance plan at its highest level since the debate began.
According to the poll, 48% say they favor a public health plan administered by the federal government that would compete with private insurers, compared with 42% who oppose it. That's a shift from last month, though within the margin of error, when 48% opposed the public option and 46% supported it. And it's a 10-point swing from August, when 47% were in opposition and 43% were in favor.
In another question asked a different way -- is it important to give people a choice of a public option? -- a combined 72% answered that it was either "extremely important" or "quite important," while just 23% said it was "not that important" or "not at all important." Those numbers are virtually unchanged from last month.
The NBC/WSJ poll, which was conducted Oct. 22-25, has a margin of error of +/- 4.4% on these two questions. The full poll will be released on Nightly News, and MSNBC.com, beginning at 6:30 pm ET.