Poll: Health Care ‘Damage’ To Democrats ‘Has Been Done’Politico: "Democrats will face nearly the same political environment this fall whether or not they pass health care reform legislation, according to a new poll out Tuesday." The poll, by Public Policy Polling, found that "Republicans currently have a generic ballot advantage of 43 percent to 40 percent in races for Congress. ... 'At this point, it looks like the political damage for Democrats on health care has been done,' PPP President Dean Debnam said. "The poll, conducted Jan. 29 - 31, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points" (Barr, 2/2).
President Obama has a new outreach effort to Republican lawmakers, The New York Times reports. "The president has invited members of Congress from both parties for a meeting at the White House next Tuesday, the first of the bipartisan brainstorming sessions that Mr. Obama proposed during the State of the Union address. Republicans will also be invited to the White House this weekend to watch the Super Bowl, as well as to Camp David and other venues for social visits. ... White House officials said the new approach could help repair Mr. Obama's standing among independent voters, who ... have distanced themselves partly because of the messy legislative debate over health care" (Hulse and Zeleny, 2/1).
A separate poll suggests Republicans will also face challenges in retaining the support of independent voters, Politico reports in another story. "The party's greatest challenge, operatives and elected officials in both parties say, is keeping the conservative base energized without overshooting the mainstream and driving away the moderate '[Scott] Brown independents' they'll need to take back Congress," according to a poll "of 2,000 Republicans - sponsored by the liberal website but conducted by independent pollster Research2000" (Thrush and Sherman, 2/3). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.