Poll: More Americans Oppose Health Bill, But Democratic Faithful Want Action
A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds about half of those polled oppose the health care plan, "but core Democrats the party needs to show up and vote in November are strong backers," The Wall Street Journal reports. "The survey found that opinions have solidified around the health-care legislation, with 48% calling it a 'bad idea' and 36% viewing it as a 'good idea' when presented with a choice between those two. That gap is consistent with surveys dating to the fall. At the same time, Democratic voters strongly favor the legislation being pushed by President Barack Obama, particularly constituencies such as blacks, Latinos and self-described liberals. Those groups mobilized in 2008 to help elect Mr. Obama, but are far less enthusiastic than core Republicans about voting in this year's midterm elections."
And "complicating the calculation for all lawmakers is that a clear plurality of Americans wants the issue addressed in some form. Forty-seven percent of poll respondents said they wanted Congress to consider significant health-care legislation 'immediately' if the Obama plan fails, while another 23% wanted that done at least within the next couple of years" (Wallsten and Spencer, 3/16).
MSNBC reports on that poll, that "46 percent say it would be better to pass the president's plan and make changes to the nation's health care system, versus 45 percent who would prefer not to pass it and keep the system as it is now" (Murray, 3/16).
Meanwhile, "[p]arty leaders are assuring wavering Democrats that passage of a sweeping health-care plan will help them in the midterm elections, despite Republican warnings that supporting the bill is political suicide," The Wall Street Journal reports in a separate article. Democrats also noted that "several other recent polls have showed the margin much closer" between those who support and oppose the bill. "They also predict that the aura of victory that would surround passage of the biggest piece of social legislation in decades would boost its popularity. Republicans said Democrats were deluding themselves if they believed voters' anger toward the plan wouldn't lead to a November bloodbath" (Bendavid, 3/16).