December 21st, 2009
03:01 PM ET
11 months ago

CNN Poll: 6 point jump in support for health care bill


Washington (CNN) - Support for the health care reform bill that Democrats are pushing through the Senate has risen six points since early December, according to a new national poll, and although a majority of Americans still oppose its passage, only four in ten agree with Senate Republicans that the bill is too liberal.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, released Monday, also indicates that President Barack Obama's approval rating has experienced a similar six-point rise.

According to the poll, 42 percent of Americans, based on what they've read or heard about the bill, support Senate Democrat's legislation. That's up from 36 percent in a poll conducted December 2-3. Nonetheless, a majority of people questioned in the survey, 56 percent, oppose the bill.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Wednesday through Sunday, as Senate Democrats were negotiating a final health care bill, but before a crucial party-line vote early Monday morning to end debate, a huge hurdle to eventual passage of the legislation that the Democrats successfully were able to jump.

"Virtually all the increase in support for the Senate health care bill has come from Democrats, with a 10-point increase since early December," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Support is also up 10 points among younger Americans, compared to only two points among people 50 and older."

The survey also indicates the public's divided on whether the Senate bill will help most Americans, with 38 percent saying if the bill becomes law things will change for the worse, 34 percent feeling that the bill will change things for the better and 26 percent saying things will not change.

But less than 1 in 4 think the bill will make their own health care coverage better, 15 points lower than the 37 percent who say their health care will get worse if the bill becomes law. Nearly 4 in 10 say there will be no change in their or their immediate family's coverage.

According the to poll, 54 percent of Americans approve of the job Obama's doing as president, up 6 points from early December, with 44 percent disapproving, down 6 points.
"Obama's approval rating is up ten points among younger Americans, but only two points among older Americans," Holland says. "Since the same pattern occurs in the figures for the Senate health care bill, it's possible that the two are related. Obama's support is also up mostly among liberals, to 81 percent."

But the survey also indicates Obama may not be living up to expectations. Nearly half of those polled, 48 percent, feeling that Obama's fallen short. The 48 percent who say the president's fallen short of their expectations is up 20 points from May.

"There is less confidence in Obama at the end of his first calendar year in office," says Holland. "In the spring, 64 percent thought his policies would succeed. That's down 12 points. And the number who say they want his policies to fail has doubled, to 22 percent, in that time."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted December 16-20, with 1,160 adult Americans questioned by phone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Full results (pdf)

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

– Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: Health care
soundoff (164 Responses)
  1. JLS

    We finally have a President that can lead and the American people. can trust.. President Obama has done more in one year than the Bush administration has did in eight years.

    Merry Christmas,
    President Obama

    December 21, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. B

    Many will feel better after they understand that they will benefit.
    It is not a great Bill, but a hell of a lot better that what we have right now !

    Send the Republicans a Very Large bag of coal for all of their help..

    We will all remember them in 2010 and in 2012 !

    December 21, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  3. WoW

    The only reason why they support it is because they do not know anything about it.

    What this bill is going to do is limit the amount of care each one of us can receive. If your doctor and you decide on a treatment option that is not on the "checklist" created by politicians and lobbyists, then you will not receive coverage for it. This is disgusting. I can't believe people are supporting a bill that states the quality and kind of care you can receive is determined by politicians and lobbyists. Wake up people. Educate yourselves. Don't follow the liberal media all the time.

    December 21, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. JMikey54

    People oppose the bill in large part because they believe a lot of the lies they have been told about it. As the truth about this legislation comes out and people see that the sky is not going to fall, and that in fact it helps they will approve of it.

    December 21, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. Guss Asamere

    I am pleased to see the Health Care Reform passed in the Senate. Those who did not support the bill obviously have trouble understanding that the function of a government includes not only sending our troops to war but also to protect the Health and Safety of all its citizens. Unlike the cost for war, the cost for health care is investing on society, creating a healthy society -mentally and physically, special thanks should go to Senator Sanders who included an amendment to train more primary physicians and nurses. This should take away the fear of most people in opposition who may think their share of the health care pie would get smaller when 30 million people are added to the system. Now, the opposition has to stop spreading fabricated bad news to distort the bill. It is ok if all of us are health rather that just a few of us.

    December 21, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. rachel

    So lets get it straight most americans still disagree with the bill?

    December 21, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. mark

    America does not want this bill!

    December 21, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. ian in Boulder CO

    As a liberal, I'm far from happy with all the compromises that were required to move this bill to the point where it is finally: the precipice of passing. In terms of legislative process, the merits of the bill are almost irrelevant at this point though. One thing is 100% clear: republicans in the House and in the Senate have a single overwhelming priority to deny democrats and the President this historic legislative victory. And the democrats (finally!) appear to be united in pushing for bill's passage.

    But what about the bill itself? The way I see it, even with all the compromises and contortions the bill went through, it is a major improvement over the status quo. Passing of this bill will be a major step forward for our country. At the very list, it will become a barrier against some of the most revolting health insurance practices (how do you like denials for pre-existing conditions my friends on the right?) and their consequences (how many bankruptcies in this country are due to the medical issues?) And maybe, just maybe, the passage of the bill will help clear the way out of the current financial morass.

    As for the politics: those of us who pay attention have lately heard a lot of fear (coming from the left) and gloating (coming from the right) regarding the impact of the bill on the electoral outcomes in 2010 and 2012. I think that both the fear and the gloating are. If economy noticeably rebounds by the fall and unemployment rate declines, which appears to be the trend currently, the democrat’s losses in 2010 midterm elections will be minor, if any. As for the polls: the common wisdom declares that recent declines in polling numbers for both the President and democrats in Congress indicated movement of independents to the right. There is some of that for sure. There is also people like myself who if polled would have expressed dissatisfaction as well. We liberals will come back, pronto. And so will many independents once right-wing hysterics about health-care bill prove to be just that.

    December 21, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. troy williams

    i was woundering how leting a privat company like ins into your bank acountt is going to help health when ins company spends more money geting out cf claims just look at what happend on east coast i feel the american ppl have been soldout through lobieing in whitch i fee l should be illegal anyone buying a law is not in or intrest

    December 21, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  10. oldswede

    It's wonderful that the approval levels are rising again. Obama and the Democrats are overcoming the massive propaganda war being run against them by the republicans and their deep-pocketed supporters. Big Insurance and Big Pharma, along with the US Chamber of Commerce and so many other corporate special interests are fighting hard to prevent any progress. According to a recent article in the Boston Globe, over a billion dollars has been spent on anti-Obama lobbying this year.
    The major media fails in its responsibilities by keeping the public confused and poorly informed on the issues.
    Yet still his numbers recover.
    Yes we can!
    oldswede

    December 21, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  11. Jim

    Typical CNN shelling for the DemocRATs. Where do they get these poll numbers? I know...they are made up just like Obama makes up numbers (jobs saved or created, global warming). He can do this because he knows CNN, PMSNBC and the other so called media will not critic the healthcare bill. This bill is going to destroy American prosperity-you watch-honest good doctors will resign and go into other businesses because of the Federal intervention and we will have rationing. There will be "death panels" made up by Schumer and Hillary and others who simply "know better" than the rest of us. Consider this, if this bill was presented by Bush or the Republicans, every DemocRAT would oppose it and CNN would do an "investigative documentary." CNN poll numbers are dishonest unless they are polling in San Francisco. Final word for all the "youth" who really think this bill is a good thing-you and your unborn children will be paying for it for all of your life.

    December 21, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. All the news that is fit to omit

    The Lieocrats have been on TV every five minutes LYING, DISTORTING or flat out NOT TELLING YOU what is in the bill.

    If you like funding a bill that takes your MONEY for FOUR YEARS before the benefits START, feel free to pay in, you are so much smarter than the rest of us, the MAJORITY.

    I am happy this passed, it will be the club that we beat the Lieocrats over the head with in 2010 and 2102.

    We ALL want reform, just not this piece of garbage.

    No TORT reform and NO ability to buy across state lines IS NOT REFORM AT ALL.

    One and done Barry, thanks for nothing.

    December 21, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    To all you neo-con "chrisians" WWJD?

    Apparently, if you represent the "living example of Christ" He would let those less fortunate among us die, just as long as He can hang onto his gold coins.

    Apparently 56% of America is ok with letting kids die due to lack of health care, just as long as the kids are not theirs.

    What about "what you do unto the least of them you do unto me"?

    What a terrible example you are setting for this "heathen" liberal.

    December 21, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  14. Peter

    Again, my observations are correct...Conservatives may have the polls slightly in their favor now for 2010...But once health care reform gets passed it will dramatically swing in the other direction.

    Is this specific bill going to satisfy me 100%? No, but once we start to take on the Health Care Industry, the American public will stand together and we can move closer to the public option.

    December 21, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. Jane/Seattle

    I'm NOT jumping up and down for this mess! just another giveaway to Big Healthcare/Big Bidness!

    December 21, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  16. Ken in Gainesville

    To Cheney, Palin and all the other luminare of the Right Wing: all the knowledge in the world is of no use to fools. Mr. Cheney, you should be ashamed of your disservice to your country. If that makes you a conservative hero, it says much about your base.

    December 21, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  17. Tom in Delaware

    Funny how CNN only reports on the polls numbers that go up for this Monotonicity....I don't remember she any numbers posted while it was on it's way to the basement.

    The People are against this.

    We can't afford it.

    It sucks.

    It's Un-Constitutional.

    Yet because it is wished for by the Imitation Christ it must be passed.

    Dems are getting CRUSHED in 2010 and then this horror will be dismantled piece by piece.

    May the Liberals die the death of a thousand cuts.

    December 21, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. CNN propaganda.

    CNN is spinning their bias again... Read the article; The numbers are against this HC bill... But that is not what CNN put most of their words to – according to CNN words, everything is getting better,,, improving... until they have to quote some hard numbers.

    And hey, CNN... how about some analysis about the Peterson-Pew Commission report on the Budget... or would that be too much real journalism with little ability to spin to the left?

    December 21, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  19. john in texas

    Supprt id up to 42 percent from 36 percent. An OBVIOUS mandate from the people to grab 1.1 trillion in money/power and control!! Way to go Dems..keep patting yourself on the back!! When this bill turns into the monetary black hole that it is destined to become lets revisit who really wanted this bill. I am not sayomg health care reform isnt needed. I am just saying this bill isnt what the Amercan people want or need. Lets get it done right and include some sort of tort reform instead of just spending a bunch of money!!

    December 21, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  20. Little Lulu

    That's wishful thinking. Unless, of course someone paid 6 people other than Nelson for his vote. This health care bill stinks and is going to be the final nail in the coffin of the US. But you sheeple keep on believing – someday you'll see that your chosen one is not Santa Claus, and he is DEFINITELY not a god.

    See you in the poverty line.

    December 21, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  21. Kelly Thomas Buffalo, NY

    The GOP has tried to translate weak support to mean that people think it's too liberal. I think most people feel the opposite and that's why the bill was less popular as it evolved and the insurance industry-with the help of GOP talking heads and FOX News-started to win the PR war. Most (60% or more in most polls) wanted a public option and the lagging support over time correlated with the chances of a public option being dropped-so that disappointment played out in the polls. I'm glad to see support has jumped and now that the Democrats can point to specifics (to counter the GOP lies and misinformation) rather than just a wish list for the bill, people will grow to understand it more and support will rise.

    Shame on Sen.Coburn for his remarks on the Senate floor asking for people to pray that some of the Democrats "don't make it back" to vote for the bill. Wishing mishap or illness on fellow Americans/public servants is unacceptable and he should apologize immediately. Is this what the soul of the GOP now looks like?

    December 21, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  22. Christine

    How can you believe in polling when even the Senators hadn't had a chance to read the "hidden" health care bill? In CNN headline "At nearly $12.1 trillion, the U.S. national debt has reached a size that is incomprehensible to most people and as intangible as the '"Big Bang" or bipartisanship" -

    Get the picture Americans, with Obama just secretly sign-up the STIMULUS BILL + CASH for CLUNKERS + CAP N TRADE + ENERGY BILL + 2010 SPENDING BILL + HEALTH CARE BILL. Hmm... Don't we all get the picture. I wish I have at least 10,000 in my bank account? Would be nice if I can be line Senator Nelson huddle for American taxpayers money in exchange for vote. Shallow– very shallow.

    December 21, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  23. Henya, Ca

    I’m one of the citizens of this country I’m very happy with the progress going forward with health care reform, our President his doing a wonderful job, this is awesome,

    December 21, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  24. donttreadonme

    A more appropriate title would be “Majority of Americans still DO NOT support Dems healthcare plan!”

    December 21, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  25. southerncousin

    That is because all of the liberal politicians keep telling their followers not to worry, this is just the beginning of our theft from American taxpayers there is a lot more coming. And of course the non working, non taxpaying, dope smoking Oprah watchers with only an NEA based education believe them.

    December 21, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
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