Obama Aides Say Media Blitz Helps; Polls Show Majority Of Americans Are Satisfied With Health Care Quality
White House advisers believe the strategy of blanketing the airwaves with President Obama's live speeches has been an effective one in gaining a foothold in the health care debate, Roll Call reports. After a particularly media-heavy month for the president, critics have said Obama is "overexposed." His aides, however, call that "dominating news cycles," a welcome change after an August in which harsh criticism of the president's plans stole headlines. They say people "want to hear from their president" and that overexposure is more a risk to celebrities. "It's not as if he's a contestant on 'So You Think You Can Dance,'" an aide said.
The effectiveness of the media blitz has not been born out in polling numbers. After a brief and modest bump following a Sept. 9 address to Congress, numbers have returned to early-September levels. "Given the polarization in the country and the state of the economy and all the crises out there, to be holding your own is a measure of success," said pollster John Zogby. However, a Republican aide warned that Obama was "dilluting" himself (Koffler, 9/23).
Meanwhile, a Sept. 11-13 USA Today/Gallup poll examined the issues that were driving public opinion regarding health care and reform. The poll found that while most Americans are satisfied with the cost and quality of their care, fewer were satisified with the cost, Gallup reports. Eighty percent were happy with quality compared to 61 percent who were happy with costs. Among the uninsured, only 27 percent were satisfied with costs. Worries about cost far exceed concerns over benefit reductions and other fears, however (Saad, 9/23).