Poll Finds Obama’s Approval Rating Remains High, But Concerns Exist About Health Care Reform’s Effect On The Economy
A new poll finds President Barack Obama's job-approval rating and favorability remain high 56 and 61 percent, respectively despite deep divides over his health care proposal and handling of the economy, Bloomberg reports. Hurting the president's numbers was pessimism about his handling of the deficit, with 62 percent of respondents saying they would prefer a longer recession to more government spending (Pryzbyla, 9/16).
Meanwhile, most Americans share the president's goals for health reform, but are skeptical of his plan for achieving it, according to the same poll, in a separate Bloomberg article. While many of those polled support specific proposals, such as requiring individuals to buy coverage or creating health insurance exchanges, they back away from the plan as a whole. Experts say that suggests the debate is more about money and the cost of the plan than the need for reform (Jensen, 9/16).
The president addressed some of those concerns in a televised address to Congress last week, and members of Congress appear to have been taken by surprise by some of his promises. He insisted that the legislation would not cost more than $900 billion over ten years and that he would not sign any bill that "adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future," the Associated Press reports. Those ultimatums have made work difficult for key Democratic lawmakers (Espo, 9/15).
"[L]awmakers and their aides say it is increasingly clear the president also left some wounds festering and caused new ones to open" after the speech, Roll Call reports. Some Democrats said the president had failed to provide specific guidance on how they could meet his goals. Meanwhile, top Obama aides argued that their message had helped boost public support (Koffler and Newmyer, 9/16).
Obama also addressed a friendly crowd at the AFL-CIO annual convention Tuesday, using his "strongly worded speech" to tie "health care reform into his broader promise to rebuild the middle class and blue-collar America," Politico reports. "We're going to grow our middle class with policies that benefit you, the American worker," Obama said. "We're not turning back, we're looking forward" (Lee, 9/15).
Obama also visited a General Motors plant and appeared at a Philadelphia rally for Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa. At that rally, Specter pointed out that "elections are won or lost with the support of the AFL-CIO," the Washington Post reports. Obama, meanwhile, tailored his message to dampen union members' anxieties at his appearances, talking up the public plan and glossing over a union-opposed provision he's supported to tax high-cost insurance policies (MacGillis, 9/16).