Poll suggests political consequences from U.S. healthcare deal

January 19, 2010

HEALTHCARE/OBAMAThink today’s U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts could be bad news for President Obama? Then consider what pollsters are saying now about the healthcare reform debate’s potential effect on the November congressional elections.

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows little overall movement in public sentiment since August — only 44 percent of Americans favor healthcare reform vs. 51 percent who oppose it.

But findings also show popular support for reform losing some of its cohesion. As recently as November, 30 percent of USA/HEALTHCARE/POLITICSAmericans “strongly” backed proposed changes. But people in that category now account for only 22 percent. That compares with 39 percent who are strongly opposed.

But will those who oppose reform vote against reform-minded lawmakers in November, when Republicans hope to wrest control of Congress from Democrats?

The poll says 24 percent of Americans would vote against a lawmaker who backed healthcare reform, compared with 12 percent who would vote for one. The split is 26 percent vs. 10 percent among independents, who represent the key swing vote in close-fought elections.USA-HEALTHCARE/

Part of the problem for Obama and his reform allies may be popular perceptions that a final deal would lack a public option and tax health plans instead of the wealthy. The poll shows that Americans would prefer to tax their wealthier fellow citizens by 58 percent to 22 percent. They also favor the creation of a public health insurance program by 47 percent to 41 percent.

The Jan. 12-15 telephone survey of 1,083 U.S. adults has a 3.5 percent margin of error.

Click here for more political coverage from Reuters

Photo Credits: Reuters/Jim Young (Obama and Senate Democrats); Reuters/Change the Works handout (Healthcare Reform Supporter); Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Anti-Reform Protest Sign)


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Dig a little deeper into this poll and there are some interesting little tidbits.

Obama Job Approval
50% Approve, 40% Disapprove

Republicans: 25% Approve / 65% Disapprove
Democrats: 81% Approve / 13% Disapprove
Independents: 40% Approve / 47% Disapprove

Economy: 46% Approve / 48% Disapprove
Health Care: 40% Approve / 54% Disapprove

Favorable / Unfavorable
Democrats in Congress: 44% / 48%
Republicans in Congress: 34% / 56%

Do you think Obama’s economic program is making the economy better, making it worse or having no real effect?
35% Better, 23% Worse, 41% No effect

The conclusion that can quickly be drawn from these results is that while Americans are not happy with what the majority has been able to come up with in terms of healthcare reform, they are still clearly opposed to what the minority is doing to destroy it. Six months ago, Americans were stongly in favor of healthcare reform. But as the tens of millions of dollars spent on lobbying to shape legislation to benefit corporate interests over public interests have had their effect, public opinion on the current state of healthcare reform has understandably diminished. The President is still popular with the public, and his agenda still has popular support, but it is no match for the financial might of American business.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

I think that President Obama should veto whatever healthcare “reform” bill shows up on his desk. Part of the reason he was elected was to exercise good judgement on the issues that affect American citizens. While I agree with reform, and eliminating the profit-driven motives of healthcare/insurance industries, the Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats have reduced the well-intended original legislation to something resembling garbage – and again exemplifying government at its worst – and giving BigHealthCo everything they want. I’d veto it, blame it on the Republicans, and then move to expand access to Medicare to all citizens next year. It’s a gutsy move, but I’d admire Obama if he did it.

Posted by roc1 | Report as abusive

One thing that has to be remembered about future healthcare modifications after a major bill is passed . You won’t need a Cloture vote . You can modify it with simple majority . (Reconciliation)

Posted by Hutch | Report as abusive

Finally, some intelligent people are posting opinions as opposed to some of the off the wall, angry, but ill-informed usual suspects. Thank You! I can agree with all 3 comments so far. I don’t know how this is going to turn out but I do know things will change for the better somehow. Someday we will look back 20 years or 40 years and wonder how it was that we were so stuck in a pattern that so obviously did not work.

Posted by BeenAround | Report as abusive

Speaking of patterns that do not work, reports are coming in from the Massachusetts Senate race of ballots being given to voters in Cambridge and in Brighton that already have the bubble next to Scott Brown’s name filled in.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

rumors and witchhunts have never been a sane and sensible manner of dealing with those people or ideas that are not agreed to by oneself. What a bunch of hogwash to say let alone pass along that ballots are being given out?? Please.

Posted by Ceileen | Report as abusive

Don’t take my word for it, use the Google.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

I would compare President Obama’s fight against the Conservative Republican’s and President Calderon of Mexico’s fight against the drug lords very similar. Both men are fighting a group of people that are both very angry and very rich. When money, especially, very large sums of money are involved, all sense of reason seems to dissipate.

The entire point of this election is change or status-quo. Mr. Brown has concentrated his efforts on the promise of destroying the health care bill that is now working it’s way through a reconciliation process in the House and Senate. This has become a make or break issue with the conservative Republican’s. Much of the health reform legislation is involved in curbing the tremendous amount of corruption that is in the health care community in general (lower Medicare costs and medical costs in general).

Here are the facts, as published in the CIA fact book under country comparisons (https://www.cia.gov/library/publication s/the-world-factbook/).

Of the top 10 industrial Nations, the United States ranks dead last in effectiveness in comparison to most medical related items. Infant mortality is 6.26 per thousand in the United States (Japan is 2.79 per 1000). Life expectancy is 78.11 years in the United States (Japan is 82.12 years). The cost of an MRI neck-region scan in the United States is $1,500.00 compared to $98.00 in Japan (This last item is not located in this fact book). Please visit the above site for additional information.

Americans should take the time to research and verify all information presented to them. This information, to be verified, could come from a politician, a radio host or just a friend over a beer at a bar. The future of America is far to important to risk decisions based on rumor and hearsay. The United States has been perpetually going backwards for around 30 years now. It’s up to every American to start this country in a forward direction and keep it moving forward. I would hate to climb into Mr. Brown’s truck and be driven back to the dark ages.

In closing, my hope is that Ms. Coakley wins this election (there are no official polls within the state of Massachusetts), however, the Democrats will take situations like this, much more seriously in the future, even if Mr. Brown wins.

Posted by Mace | Report as abusive

@getplaning- I read the same thing. You can bet that if ballots with Coakley’s name filled in were found, the airwaves would be flooded by Republicans accusing ACORN of stealing MA for the Dems.
@Ceileen- You wouldn’t be one of those people, would you?
@Mace- Excellent post.

Posted by Grifo | Report as abusive


You are wrong on all counts. I told you the democrats would be judged, so go ahead and continue to use your numbers. Rasmussen has the approval of congressional republicans as 9 points ahead of democrat approval. You clearly do not understand the anger of the American people and the radical progressive agenda the president and congress are forcing on us.

Virginia, NJ and now MA (okay, I am being a little premature…) are clear messages to the president and congress to back off. You work for us, not the other way around.

As for the ballots? 5 count them 5 out 2 million votes cast are questionable…Quite the hail mary….It won’t hold up.

Even if Brown loses today, the message is clear, democrats are in trouble in a big way….

Everything I have said has come true. You, on the other hand…are wrong again…

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive

Republicans: 25% Approve / 65% Disapprove
Democrats: 81% Approve / 13% Disapprove
Independents: 40% Approve / 47% Disapprove

Economy: 46% Approve / 48% Disapprove
Health Care: 40% Approve / 54% Disapprove

Favorable / Unfavorable
Democrats in Congress: 44% / 48%
Republicans in Congress: 34% / 56%

Tell me where I am wrong, troll.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

You are wrong about the mood of the country. Your numbers don’t explain why the most democratic state in the nation, Massachusetts, where only 12 percent are Republican are about to elect, or make a supposed cake walk into a very close election.

Again, according to the accurate Rasmussen poll, the republicans hold a 9 point advantage to the democrats with regard to congress. Massachusetts is proving this to be true.

You didn’t even name your left wing sources in your mere “numbers”. But that doesn’t matter. America is angry with the direction this country is taking and you are just wrong about the mood of the country.

I am right, as usual, and you are wrong…as always….

Cherry pick some more. America tired of the left wing lies you and your kind like to tell.

If Brown loses, it has put the democrats on notice. This is a judgement against democrats…who hold power…They will lose and you know it.

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive


Brown was just called the winner by the Associated Press. He won by 7 percent. So far it is a “landslide”.

It is a wipeout and as I have said time and time again, it is the democrats who will be judged. Nothing more needs to be said, I don’t want to pile on….

First it was Virginia and New Jersey. Now it is Massachusetts. The November 2010 elections will be ugly for the democrats.

But lets add that this is the most heavily democrat state. Only 12 percent of the voters are republicans….only 12 percent.

The independents have overwhelmingly realized the mistake they made by electing Obama and the congressional democrats.

This is no minor matter. You have been wrong the whole way.

Everything I have said has come true.

Have a nice night.

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive

[…] tonight in commentaries about the Massachusetts election I had to comment.  People’s major complaint about President Obama and his administration is that they aren’t doing enough about jobs and […]

Posted by You’re a Republican? « Where Economics, Politics and Flannel Shirts Collide | Report as abusive

I am fascinated that Americans are not willing to have decent healthcare system that does not just fill the pockets the Healthcare and Insurance Industry.

Posted by mooreye | Report as abusive

What a predictable little troll you are, TC. The left wing sources in my mere “numbers” were from the very same poll this article references. But you are so fixed on what I write and how you can immediately respond with your negatives, you didn’t even read what David Morgan wrote. You are like a little kid who won’t listen to his parents, always arguing for the sake of the argument, regardless of the topic.
The special election for the Senate seat in Massachusetts was Coakley’s to lose, and she lost it. 45 days ago, she had a 30 point lead in every poll, and decided it was in the bag. She didn’t campaign, and her voters didn’t turn out. Another painful lesson for the party that can’t seem to learn from the same stupid mistakes. Republicans don’t win because they have better ideas or are better at governing. It’s clear that they aren’t. They are just better at winning.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive


You can spin this any way you want to. The fact of the matter is you are just like the left wing you support, you can not and will not admit to the anger of the American people.

This has nothing to do with Coakley. Any opponent would have lost against Scott Brown. The same thing happened in Virginia and New Jersey and now Massachusetts (in the bluest of blue states). I know a lot about Massachusetts and people just don’t vote for conservative republicans…they just don’t. So go ahead and discount this and keep your head in the sand and make up stories, because you are wrong about everything you have said this year.

I love your response to me, you have called me names all year long and tried to discount the very things that have taken place. It isn’t about democrats or republicans. It is about the very freedoms the Obama administration and the progressive led congress are trying to take away from us. People are mad and won’t have any of it.

It is appropriate that this took place in Massachusetts, the place where the revolution took place to fight the policies of King George. It adds icing to the cake that it was that lion of the senate, Ted Kennedy’s seat (I mean the people’s seat…sorry…).

You are wrong about everything, but I don’t except anything else from a left wing political hack.

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive

I guess that makes David Morgan and all the other posters above who agreed with my first post left wing political hacks who are wrong about everything too.

Well, if that’s the case, so be it. I will continue to make contributions to these blogs, and you can sit under the Front Row Washington Bridge like a good little troll and wait for them.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive


I have endured your left wing diatribes for about a year now. One thing that I have always known is that you are on the wrong side of everything. You can’t see the forest for trees because are such a partisan hack.

Americans clearly agree with everything I have said and last night was just another nail in the coffin of you left wingers. Rasmussen has been right on the money every single time.

So go ahead and discredit everything in the narrow world you live in.

You just don’t get it. I told you that you were misreading the anger of the American people. The 9/12 March on Washington and the “Tea Bag” protests should have been a wakeup call to you, but you dismissed it and the anger Americans have of the agenda of this administration and this congress.

The progressive democrats are the ones who being judged because they are the ones in power, but now they know they are on very fragile ground. If Massachusetts didn’t wake you up, it never will.

You have no credibility because you are wrong every single time.

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive

Soooo predictable TC… If my posts are too much for you to endure, you are free to go. But I know you can’t. You are a lonely fellow who needs to tell everyone you are right and they are wrong. Hence your never-ending responses to my every post. Children are often like this, always needing to have the last word.

If the majority of Americans are in agreement with everything you say, why is your supposed majority in the minority? Because the real majority just voted them out in two elections in a row, that’s why. Winning back a few seats isn’t a revolution.

Teabaggers like you are angry, because they are children and have a tantrum when they don’t get their way. Dick Armey and his corporate buddies over at AHIP and Club For Growth want you to be angry. They work with Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck to get you all riled up over fantasies like America going communist and the rich having to actually pay taxes. They want you to be angry so you don’t think. It works like a charm on people like you. You end up believing that millions marched on Washington on 9/12, that Sarah Palin understands global issues, and other nonsense. Pitiful.

We are both entitled to our opinions, and we may both be wrong. The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll is not my opinion. You can’t seem to tell the difference.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive


You have no credibility, so you resort to your usual diatribes.

BTW, you are a classic example of the “pot calling the kettle black”. Just remember, you searched me out for destruction a long time ago, it was not the other way around. I lost count of the number of time you searched out my very post in a sea of posts where many, if not most, had the same opinion as me.

It is very apparent you are angry at being wrong. I don’t understand why you would feel that way, I have told you the truth about everything for a year. Too bad you put your blinders on and resorted to posts like you just wrote.

I actually feel bad for you because you just don’t get it.

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive

keep the republicans out people!
I dont care how naive anybody believes my comment to be, but it is acutely important to remember that the illegal wars going on right now were waged by a certain republican. And the events leading up to the wars could have been avoided had he and his cronies done their jobs correctly and honestly. They didn’t. The world’s gone mad about the “war on terror” (undoubtedly un-winable war). I blame the rupublicans and g.w.b. war mongerers.
not sticking up for obama either, socialism sucks, so does he. Just another puppet for the money men.
the left-right paradigm is blinding, concealing the truth that will forever keep the general public free of happiness. the only freedom they will understand.
but this win for the republicans does show that there are major problems facing obama. poor obama. he’s such a nice man.

my a%se!

Posted by tommyknows | Report as abusive


You are wrong on all counts.”

TC. This was your first entry on this and many other threads. Who searches out whom on these threads, TC?

Again you are shown to be a troll with nothing better to do than “single out others for destruction.”

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

Well, I learned from the best, I guess.

You have proven yourself to have no credibility. Everything you have spewed out from your left wing diatribes has amounted to no more than partisan rhetoric.

You have nothing left to offer anyone. I have caught you lying and twisting the truth so often that I am surprised you are still here.

Have fun continuing this argument with yourself. You have nothing constructive to offer.

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive

I have proven that YOU have no credibility, TC, and it was easy.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

Anyone who thinks that voting for this health care bill is good politically has their head in the sand. You might as well not argue with such a person…they are hopeless.

Democrats are suffering from mass delusions. Then when they get swept out in November, they will claim it was all a communication problem.


Posted by neoavatara | Report as abusive