December 21st, 2009
03:01 PM ET
3 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. Aled Owen

    I am no Socialist, Never was. However I am told that Canada, where I live, has "Socialized Medecine". I think it's a terrific system and so does my doctor. I pay healthy taxes because I am a high income
    individual but I know that I will never go bancrupt if I ever have a serious disease. I would hate to live in any country where people die
    because they have no health care insurance. It is a blatant lie that
    health care is run by the Canadian government. Nobody dictates my
    access to health care, not even my doctor whom I consult whenever I need to. If a politician's nose grew an inch every time he told a lie
    your Senate would be a hilarious place to take pictures in.
    Aled

    December 21, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. Steve (the real one)

    Sad, just sad! It appears even the Liberal Dems knows this bills is a piece of rubbish. The fact they have to buy votes means they are not confident in their bill! $300 million for Louisana, certain tax exemption for Nebraska, a new hopsital for Pennsylvania! All this means is everyone else has to pay for the favors and exemptions! Ridiculous! I hope someone takes this to the Supreme Court to be overturned, if passed! If this was such a great bill, no one would have to be bribed!

    December 21, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. chubby

    I do not know where CNN is getting this poll except for maybe from PMS NBC or ABC. No reliable poll has these numbers.

    December 21, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    Wow...bust out the Desityne...there's gonna be a lotta GOPers filling their pants when they read this...

    December 21, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. Death Panel Sarah

    The reason this poll shows only 42% approve, is that many wanted MORE from this bill(public option,etc.)
    That is also why only 40% feel it is too liberal.

    The talk radio freaks use errant polls like this to try to say the public is against reform. This is a lie, as I said before, many wanted more from this bill and are counted with the mental midgets who do not want reform!

    The public still wants reform, but they do not like the public option being dropped from this bill.

    Actually, the poll questions should be changed to avoid giving ammunition(albeit fake) to the talk radio nuts!!!

    December 21, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  6. Ethan

    The polls will take care of themselves when the bill becomes a law and the legislation is spelled out. There's an unbelievable amount of good news in there. And I am a progressive who favors single-payer. Bottom line, as has been said before and will be said again: "when in doubt, don't never ever bet against Barack Obama." The guy gets the hard work DONE. We tweak the resulting law from there. That's change in this country. Transformative change. Thank you President Obama, Majority Leader Reid, and Speaker Pelosi. No thanks to the children in the Republican Party who would rather stall a vote on FUNDING THE TROOPS ON THE FRONT LINES than even ALLOW an up/down vote on the Senate floor. Since the previous administration there has been nothing even remotely as shameful as that. NOTHING. Even for the GOP, that decision to use our troops as a PARTISAN POLITICAL TOOL truly takes the cake for the utter garbage political games that they've played all year long. It's time to END the REPUBLICAN FILIBUSTER ABUSE once and for all so we can get the CHANGE this country wants and needs so badly.

    December 21, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  7. Marl Corgan

    This poll says 42 percent of Americans support our Government managing their health care when it should say 42 percent of Democrats favor it. Still, in this poll 58% of oppose this action and yet the sixty Democrat senators are proceeding with it because they are smarter than everybody else. As a Nation we sure are lucky we elected these sixty smart people to office. Do a poll with non Democrats and see how what percent is againt this bill.

    December 21, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  8. david, CA

    so much of what passes for public opinion on healthcare is based on a GOP blitzkrieg of disinformation. From the beginning, the dems have poorly understood debate dynamics and have underestimated their opponents.

    December 21, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. chill

    I think President Obama is doing a tremendous job in a ver difficult situation to not only advance the platform he campaigned on, but to deal with a multitude of issues brought on by the recession. We're on the cusp of health care reform; have made a start on energy independence through the stimulus program; have pulled the economy back from the brink of Depression; have expanded CHIPS; have refocused the US on the right war and right enemy; have restored respect and cooperation with the US internationally. Yes, they've been slow getting position filled, thanks in part to the Senate GOP, and a little more hammer would be appreciated occasionally, but on the whole he's doing well. And he's been working with the only two parties in the Congress that haven't declared their intent to vote against everything he proposes- the Democrats and the Blue Dogs.

    December 21, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. sifto77

    I do not believe that CNN poll for a New York Minute! You must have polled in the elitist Eastern seaboard states!

    December 21, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. Mike in MN

    Looks like the CNN poll is moving in the opposite direction of all the other recent polls which show support for Obamacare and Obama's approval ratings dropping. Check out realclearpolitics.com which posts the results of a large number of major polls. You will see these CNN poll numbers do not line up with all the other polls.

    December 21, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. Dorothy Szymanski

    I didn't know what to think about the Health Care Bill. I certainly didn't trust the commercials sponsored by the Insurance Companies (republicans) but really didn't understand the bill. After watching CNN today and having the bill explained, a little late, I am overjoyed with this bill. I would have liked to see all people covered. Maybe in the future this will happen. Thanks you CNN for your comments today.l
    Dorothy SZymanski

    December 21, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  13. joe kiloz

    Go back to the drawing board, cut out those 100 million dollar payoffs to Dodd and Nelson, make it at least some bipartsan then we can consider it. In its current state, it is an exercise in shame, only the Soviets would do it this way.

    December 21, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  14. Bugl3t

    Boy, the Republican whining on this is hitting an all time high, even for them! How hypocritical is it that they complain about "sweetheart" deals while they gang up together and obstinately refuse to even OFFER a solution for anything, be it health care coverage, funding troops, helping the economy recover...

    About the only things they would agree to are 1) EVEN MORE tax cuts for the wealthy; 2) Banning all abortion; 3) Refusing any social help to all those extra children resulting from all those unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, thus creating another generation of uneducated sheep to recruit to their "moral" majority!

    They ought to be ashamed of themselves. I am glad to see action finally happening. I bet if we removed all government-sponsored healthcare coverage from ALL government employees, including Congress, that we'd have a single-payer, affordable system in place in no time!

    December 21, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  15. Right Leaning Independent

    Come on CNN posters, tell us again how the majority of Americans want this health care plan passed! You constantly blog that the majority want a bill passed and the facts are squarely against your argument! I am sure that will not stop you from continuing to make the claims!

    December 21, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  16. Mississippi Mrs.

    It is going to be the worst legislation in American History, put forth by the worst administration this country has ever seen.

    2010 we will get to tell you all what we think of this mess.. since you aren't listening to us now.

    We are united.. and we are determined. We will vote out the liberal Democrats no doubt about it. Oh and some moderates will bite the dust as well. We can hardly wait to vote!!

    December 21, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  17. Bob Smith

    What conservatives fail to realize in their attempt to portray this as wide-spread disgust with the health-bill, is that many Liberals oppose this health bill for the very reason that it does not go far enough.

    So no, this isn't a big endorsement for the republicans and their non-existent health-care plan in any way, shape, or form.

    December 21, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  18. conservative guy

    Let me guess, CNN stopped including non-democrats in its polling sample.

    December 21, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. Don Spencer

    54 percent of Americans approve of the job Obama's doing as president

    Why, that's 35 percent higher support than Bush left office with!

    Another blow to conservatives – LOL!

    December 21, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. Fed Up

    It seems that this bill counts abortion as "preventive care". Hmmm. No mammograms or pap smears, but abortions. Also, it gives one of the commissions the right to do whatever they want to do with abortion after this bill passes. Sorry, no support here.

    December 21, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. IndyVoter

    CNN. Please tell the breakdown of how a majority of Americans oppose the bill. It is because all of the Republicans oppose it, just because, and because the far LEFT of the Democratic party oppose it because it isn't liberal enough. Please do not make it seem as if a majority of Americans agree with Republicans. That is not the case. The reason you see a rise is the number that support the bill is because the far left Democrats are resigning themselves to the fact that it isn't going to be as liberal as they like and want to have a Democratic victory on Health Care, so they are rallying behind it now that its in the home stretch.

    December 21, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Polls are nice.
    Our President is too busy getting this country back in shape, in spite of ourselves, to read them.

    Thank God, and Amen to that!
    God bless our President.

    Obama 2012 and beyond

    December 21, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans and all their so called "bribery" talk has hurt them because Americans are smart enough to know the Republicans accepted bribery money from big insurance lobbyist to defeat the American people. Republicans do nothing but spread false propaganda which they learned from GWB that got us into the wrong war and bin Laden is still out there.

    December 21, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  24. Debbie

    The healthcare debate will come down to 2 things: the components of both bills as in $$ and abortion and the GOP/Dems.

    The voters are opposed to: $$ in the pockets of legislators and insurance companies. That debate is not the publics but the legislators themselves. How to keep PAC $$ and yet not appear beholding to insurances companies. Slippery slope today. People are already digging up research who is getting what. Get caught taking any $$ and you are done with the voters.

    Abortion: A moral issue and civil rights issue. Can morality be legislated? Is there a point that pro-choice will give up their already won civil right? Is there a point that anti-abortion will accept private money vs public money spent?

    In the meantime every 10 minutes someone dies who does not have healthcare. Are we willing to give $$ to insurance companies to save that life so they have healthcare? Anti-abortionists will have to come to decide who's life is more important in the next 10 minutes. The unborn child or the man with a pre-existing disease.

    Truely the American people now have the decision of life or death in their hands. It is a matter of $$ and life... How will you choose?

    December 21, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  25. Scott

    The conservative lies are losing traction. Having recently repudiated conservatism to the same degree to which I still repudiate liberalism, I know the lies when I see them. The only hope for bipartisanship is for the democrats to stay in the middle, for their legislation to work, and for them to reach out to republicans – a tall order indeed.

    December 21, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
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