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March 17, 2010

Don't buy the spin: public is still split over health care proposal

When you hear Republicans and talk show hosts say the country is overwhelmingly opposed to the health care legislation pending in Congress, don’t believe it.

And when you hear Democrats say momentum is building in recent weeks for the proposal, don’t believe that, either.

The fact is, the American public is pretty evenly divided over the proposal, as it’s been for months. Oh, there have been slight moves, with each side rising or dropping a few percentage points. But most reputable polls show the country split.

The new NBC-Wall Street Journal, a widely respected poll conducted jointly by a Democratic pollster and a Republican pollster, this week finds 36 percent think the Obama plan is a good idea, while 48 percent think it’s a bad idea.

(Another 15 percent still have no opinion – watch these people, they could decide this fall’s elections for control of Congress if they vote.)

The overall divided is very similar to the numbers last July, before the August town hall meetings that showcased a lot of anger at the proposal. Then, 36 percent thought the proposal was good idea and 42 percent thought it was a bad idea.

There has been an increase in opposition since spring. Since last April, support has risen from 33 percent to 36 percent, while opposition has risen from 26 percent to 48 percent.

But the ranks of those who think it’s a bad idea has never topped 50 percent in the poll – hardly overwhelming. And the numbers overall have been all but stuck for months – hardly the momentum the ite House claims.

   Other recent surveys include:

   --The AP-GfK Poll, which found 41 percent supporting the proposal and 43 percent opposing it;
   --The Gallup Poll found 45 percent for it and 48 percent against;
   --Ipsos-McClatchy found 41 percent for it and 47 percent against it, essentially unchanged from an August poll that found 40 percent for it and 45 percent against it.
   --The Fox News-Opinion Dynamics poll found 46 percent for major legislation this year and 50 percent against it, comparable to the 49-48 split last July.


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Carolyn Caffrey

This drives me crazier than just about anything!! Everyone reports on poll numbers on the health bill.
Does anyone ever do any followup questions on WHY someone is for it or against it??!! It would be so much more enlightening. I know people on both the right and the left who oppose the bill...but for completely opposite reasons!! Could somebody neutral pleeeeez take it upon themselves to do that kind of ongoing survey? Or if it already exists, just point me to it, as long as it's a reputable, non-partisan source. THANK YOU.

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