Obama bests Republicans on healthcare reform in public confidence poll

March 5, 2010


Barack Obama appears to be winning the popularity contest over healthcare reform that’s been playing out in public since his White House summit on Feb. 25.

A new Gallup poll suggests that 49 percent of Americans have confidence in Obama to make the right recommendations.

That’s not a majority. But it’s way higher than the 32 percent who think Republicans in Congress would do the right thing.
The findings appear to contradict Republican claims that the public favors their decentralized, piecemeal approach over Obama’s comprehensive reform plan.

The president also outstrips a 37 percent public confidence rating for congressional Democrats, according to the survey of 992 adults conducted March 2-3. The data have a 4 percentage point margin of error.

That lead over Democrats could be important for the White House as Obama makes his last-ditch effort to prod reluctant party members into going along with his plan to overhaul the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare system. Democratic leaders are trying to muster enough party support to bypass Republicans.

Public sentiment still presents a challenge for the president, however.

USA-HEALTHCARE/Gallup says public confidence on healthcare reform runs highest for doctors (77 percent), hospitals (64 percent), and academics who study healthcare policy (61 percent).

That puts Obama fourth, Democrats fifth and Republicans sixth, with pharmaceutical companies (30 percent) and insurance companies (26 percent) bringing up the rear.

Photo Credits: Reuters/Yuri Gripas (Obama); Reuters/Jason Reed (Senators John McCain and Lamar Alexander); Reuters/Hyungwon Kang (Doctor and Young Patient)

Click here for more political coverage from Reuters.


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/

Let’s pass this thing already.

Posted by Streetfighter | Report as abusive

“Gallup says public confidence on healthcare reform runs highest for doctors (77 percent), hospitals (64 percent), and academics who study healthcare policy (61 percent) pharmaceutical companies (30 percent) and insurance companies (26 percent) bringing up the rear” – this looks promising, it would also be the single biggest thing we could do to reclaim our deficit spending since medicare and medicaid are the largest part of the budget now. Pass it already!

Posted by JulsMan | Report as abusive

Yes lets pass it!

Posted by Permatrip | Report as abusive

Agreed, if the insurance and pharmas hate it, it is almost certain to be good for us.

Posted by jstaf | Report as abusive

This is the worst bill ever. The last thing we need is more government programs. Nothing the government does works well.

Posted by MartiJ | Report as abusive

“Nothing the government does works well.”

This has to be one of the most ignorant statements I have ever heard. The roads you use to get to work don’t work well? You don’t trust that the food you buy at the grocery store isn’t going to kill you? The only reason most people in this country can even read and write on these blogs at all is because our government gives us the right to an education! Healthcare is one area where the free market does not work well. Big profits equals finding any way to not pay out money when people need it. This is one area where the government NEEDS to step in and regulate. That is just straight, obvious logic. Try and think about it for a minute and maybe you can see it.

Posted by lowrCO2 | Report as abusive

Agreed. Pass it now!

Posted by Fireturtle | Report as abusive

“49 percent of Americans have confidence in Obama to make the right recommendations…way higher than the 32 percent who think Republicans in Congress would do the right thing.”

What have I been telling you all for the last year?

Americans have no faith in conservative ideology. They know the GOP ran the country into the ground and that they are doing their best to block the reforms needed to put things on the right track. Today’s Reuter’s headline, “Payroll Data Buoys Job Creation Hopes” is just another reminder of who is turning the country around, and who isn’t helping.

The GOP Media Complex is churning out the talking point that passing healthcare reform will be “electoral suicide for the progressives in power”. I can’t wait to see how that strategy pays off in November. Their hopes of a sweep are fading fast.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

I am against anything Obama wants. He is running the country into debt that will indanger our security, progress, freedom,He is a radical extremist,and I think he wants to bankrupt America and turn us into a european style country. He was not brought up as an American. He does not like the american way of life.

Goverment that runs every thing we do is not good far business. People are becoming afraid to invest or do anything. The future does not look good far Business or far the private citzen. There are ways of fixing our problems with out bankrupting America. I will not and many others will not vote far Democrats or Republicans that are so stupid they can,t see the danger.

He is a smooth talker and seems to impress some ordinary peple that do not understand the dangers we face. He has never had any experence in business or military affairs. I am a very conserned citizen. I do not want to do things I would ordinarily do like buying stock, opeing a business, or anything else that would make me money and help the economy because our taxes will be so high it would not be worth it. If many people feel like I do the economy will not move forward and unimpoyment will keep being worse except far the many questionable people he hires . We need to explore far oil in our own country and not buy it from people that do not like us. imb@q.com

Posted by rodb | Report as abusive

I just don’t understand why someone will not just go down the pros and cons of such reform. Why can’t we just get an unbiased account of what the bill will provide. For example, over the next few years a) taxes will increase by such an amount, or we will expand deficit by borrowing x amount abroad, b) what will most likely happen to current healthcare firms, and more importantly how will this legislation affect the overall economy, etc. What is up with liberals wanting their cake and eating it too (where’s the money coming from), and what is with Republicans using half-assed counter arguments?

On a side note, who want’s a bigger government?

Posted by charlesv | Report as abusive


Posted by charlesv | Report as abusive

You don’t see that, charlesv, because no one knows any of the answers.

Posted by drewbie | Report as abusive

This issue is NOT about medical care….. This is the biggest power grab and intrusion into a private citizen’s life in American history under the diguise of “them” helping those who cannot/refuse to take care of themselves. (By the way, this whole subject is unconstitutional and I hope someone challenges it if/when it ever passes. Nowhere did our founding fathers give power to the Federal government to do this type of thing. In fact, their intentions for our country were just the opposite…)
The scariest part of this is that it’s being done by people who want to regulate and control of every aspect of our lives. Is anybody even interested in the fact that one of the biggest problems with healthcare is the strain that illegal aliens are having on the system? When is this administration going to address “reform” for illegal entrance into our country? If it weren’t so sad, I’d be amused by the fact that our glorious leader of Homeland Security immediately announced that she would “Send home any people from Haiti that enter this country illegally. Is this because they don’t vote for Democrats ? ?

Posted by CaptDan | Report as abusive

Why do so many people trust doctors and hospitals to reform the healthcare payment system? Sick people are a captive market. We have to have their services (or think we do.) They have all the power and patients have none. Their expertise is medical, not financial. They do not concern themselves with the costs of diagnosis and treatment, but pass them on to patients, insurance companies or governments. What we really need is a tax-funded primary care system with MDs on salary supervising PAs, NPs and RNs, and private insurance and private doctors for the specialties and hospitalization.

Posted by annieL | Report as abusive

If you want information about the health bill, below is a link to the congressional budget office’s pdf file H.R. 3962, Affordable Health Care for America Act

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/107xx/doc1076 9/CLASS_Additional_Information_Miller_le tter.pdf

You can read the analysis for yourselves and make up your own minds.

Posted by Benny_Acosta | Report as abusive

I have followed the US health care debate from Canada with interest. Our system has a lot of deficiencies – particularly delays in specialty care and access. While I lean towards the conservative side, it is clear that Republicans have no plan to cover the 30+ million uninsured. A major plank of Obama’s campaign was to reform health care, and I think the administration is quite entitled to push it through. The opponents are confusing a public option with a public takeover. Some of the advertisements I have heard from the opponents of reform seem to purposely promote the confusion. The economies of scale for a public option will probably outweigh the undoubted inefficiencies of the public sector, and so reduce the per capita cost of coverage compared with a fragmented set of private insurers. For those who despair in the abilities of public bureaucracies – recall that the US has entrusted its national security to a great world class public bureaucratic organization – the American military.

Posted by RRH | Report as abusive

For heaven’s sake let’s get this thing passed — I’ve been waiting since Clinton’s first term or about 16 years for something that for instance Germany had under Bismark.

Posted by neilt123 | Report as abusive

Just like during the 2008 election, the PAID pumpers are coming out in force to manipulate people into thinking this health care fiasco…yes, fiasco is a good thing.

Well, just remember these PAID pumpers were out in force in 2008 also and look what we got…a highly unpopular president and congress. 45 percent and 14 percent approval…Nothing to be proud of

Don’t listen. The paid pumpers are out in force but will disappear just as fast once they get their way. They did the same thing during the election, they are doing the same thing now.

Say NO to health care, because if they need to push it this much, it isn’t worth having.

Start over and do it right…

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive

Say yes to health care. If the GOP had a fix for this problem they would have implemented it when the were in control. They didn’t have a fix then. They don’t have one now.

Posted by Benny_Acosta | Report as abusive

Say NO to this health care fiasco. If the democrats had a fix for this problem, then the American people would support it.

The American people do not support this mess. They made that clear all year long.

But president Obama and the progressives in congress haven’t listened to the people….

Nov 2010 will be a rude awakening for them.

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive

Americans support healthcare reform, but not Republican healthcare reform. As more and more Republican ideas and amendments get accepted into this legislation, support for it falls.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

It’s one thing to say “Americans support healthcare reform”, but quite another to say they support any plan this progressive president and this progressive congress put out….Americans have never supported their fiasco!!

It already failed and blaming it on those republicans is just another attempt to blame someone…anyone…for the failed agenda of this administration and this congress.

54 percent do not want any health care proposal by those in charge now. Over 60 percent want the president and congress to start over (even before those republican crumbs are put in).

Either way, Americans do not want anything this failure of a president and congress want.

Yes…the president and congress are failures. They are failing the American people and they are failing at improving our future with out of control spending.

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive

Yep, those “paid bashers” are out in force, all right.

Posted by Yellow105 | Report as abusive