Two Recent Polls Offer Different Snapshots Of Public Opinions On Health Reform
Two new polls offer different takes on the nation's public opinions about health reform.
A poll released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation suggests more Americans believe now than they did last month that the country's health care system needs to be overhauled.
The poll says that 57 percent - up from 53 percent in August - believe reform is now "more important than ever," USA Today's On Politics blog reports. "Still, the results were not entirely rosy. Nearly five in 10 people said they support letting lawmakers work longer to find a bipartisan solution. And while 68% said they are 'hopeful' about the legislation, 58% also said they are 'frustrated' and 31% said they are 'angry'" (9/29).
The Boston Globe's Political Intelligence blog: "The proportion of Americans who believe their families would be better off after an overhaul is up six percentage points to 42 percent and the proportion who think that the country would be better off is up eight points to 53 percent. Also according to the survey, most Americans support the principles at the core of the bills supported by President Obama and congressional Democrats, including a requirement that individuals obtain coverage (68 percent), a mandate that most employers offer coverage (67 percent), and an expansion of Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (82 percent)" (Rhee, 9/29).
The Chicago Tribune's The Swamp blog: "While 49 percent of the Republicans surveyed say their family would be worse off if health reform passes, that is down from 61 in August. The percentage of independents saying they would be worse off fell from 36 percent in August to 26 percent this month.
"Democrats remain overwhelmingly in favor of tackling health care now (77 percent, while most Republicans say we cannot afford to do so (63 percent). Independents are divided (51in favor, 44 opposed)" (Silva, 9/29).
But a Rasmussen poll released yesterday offered another perspective. "Just 41% of voters nationwide now favor the health care reform proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. That's down two points from a week ago and the lowest level of support yet measured," according to Rasmussen Reports. This national telephone survey found 56% are opposed to the plan. In addition, "[s]enior citizens are less supportive of the plan than younger voters. In the latest survey, just 33% of seniors favor the plan while 59% are opposed. The intensity gap among seniors is significant. Only 16% of the over-65 crowd Strongly Favors the legislation while 46% are Strongly Opposed." And, "[f]or the first time ever, a slight plurality of voters now express doubt that the legislation will become law this year" (9/28).
For Republicans, the poll could be good news for the 2010 midterm elections, The Christian Science Monitor reports. "More than bank bailouts, stimulus spending, or illegal immigration other hot-button issues for voters in middle America the overhaul of the US healthcare system would affect every family. Increasingly, voters expect that the impact to be negative." The specter of big government and deficits, GOP pollster Whit Ayres says, "opens a real door for Republican resurgence in 2010, primarily because the views of independents are far closer to Republicans than Democrats on fiscal issues." Campaigning against big government has worked before. "Insurgent Republicans took back the House of Representatives in 1994 by campaigning against big government and a 1993 Clinton healthcare plan they said could have bankrupted the nation" (Chaddock, 9/28).