December 21st, 2009
03:01 PM ET
6 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. Liberal wingnut

    Poll: US will be cleaning up the mess form the bill for the next ten years.

    December 21, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. dnick47

    The US of A has (or hopefully will) joined the ranks of other advanced nations in that it will assure that ALL the people have access to health care and not just those with a priviledge. Hopefully the sad slaughter of 40,000 plus of our citizens who were, through no fault of their own, denied access to the medical establishment because they couldnot afford to participate in the greed motivated system is at an end. The GOPers will no doubt wail for awhile until they can find another way to milk the new system for all it is worth and then will take credit for their "right to life" stance – yes, they will find away to recoup their supposed "loss" and then some.

    December 21, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  3. marcia

    I bet there's a 6 point jump.
    Fat chance

    December 21, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. walleye

    We have taken a small step in helping the public obtain Universal Health Insurance. I say small because the Republiklans have put up barriers at every chance. Just like Medicare and Soc Security, once this bill becomes law, it will go through several iterations over several years, adding to it and strenghtening its purpose.

    December 21, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  5. Whiz Kid

    Even this CNN poll shows that the majority (56% > 50%, hence a majority) oppose this bill. But, how often do I see folks on here continually saying the majority wants this thing? It just proves that some are true believers, no matter what the facts dictate.

    I personally think it's a joke. If this policy is going to affect the whole nation, none of the states that got goodies should be allowed to keep them. If they strip out the perqs for Louisiana, Nebraska, and Connecticut, those YES votes would be easier to stomach.

    I personally think that my Senator should follow the trend and write some legislation that makes people in the other 49 states pay higher Federal income tax than I do. That would be some change I could believe in!

    This current bill (Bill, what an appropriate name for this thing) is so encumbered with convoluted reasoning that if I were President (even though this is my "Hallmark" legislation ...(Hallmark, how appropriate around the holidays) I'd veto it and tell these characters to screw their head on straight before passing something of this magnitude.

    December 21, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  6. John B.

    "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."

    Were they "likely voters"? What was the breakdown of the polling sample? How many Dems? How many Repubs?

    December 21, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  7. Bob

    Has CNN fact-checked this poll?

    December 21, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  8. Ryan

    Just a suggestion: in the future, when reporting on a poll conducted by CNN, it would be interesting if the news article could be linked to the poll itself, to be evaluated methodologically, for those who would like to dig deeper into such research.

    December 21, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  9. Alberta Treadway

    It is my believe that Obama's polling will also rise soon after the passing of this bill. This is a historical time, an history will say so. He gotten this further in reform than it's ever gotten in Decades. Nov. Economy was not only sound, put up in %, Those trends, I believe will continue. We are slowly bounceing back, an by 2012 this President will have the Iraq war almost done, G. prison closed an court trials close to conclusion, an prisoners sound/safe with no danger in the U.S. prison, Health care improvements, Vet's med improved, unemployment lower, const. up an recovery sound. He will have bragging rights, an on the campagne trail to keep america involved.

    December 21, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  10. Susan, Macedon New York

    I think the most important part of this poll is reflected in the words "what they've read and heard" about the bill. Apparently the part they're missing is that Congress has cut the parts of the bill that actually save the taxpayer money, such as importing drugs, freedom to buy insurance across state lines and the public option.

    With those important parts gone, all that's left is a gift to the insurance companies of more subscribers. There's nothing that helps keep costs down for the consumer.

    The only good thing about this bill is that it covers pre-existing conditions – though not until 2012! What about all the people who are going to die between now and then!

    December 21, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  11. JT the Show Me State College Freshman

    It is understandable that this is controversial right now, but remember, the bill still has to be compromised into one piece of legleslation.
    No bill is perfect when it first begins; take a look at history. Our consitution was written back in December 15, 1791, and it is still being added on to today. That is over 218 years of our constitution being added on to; the same will go with any major legleslation passed.
    History also shows that the same criticisms have been there for every social legleslation passed. For example, Medicare.
    Here is an example of the arguments they used against it back then:
    Conservative claims of socialism:
    Many conservatives strongly opposed the enactment of Medicare, warning that a government-run program would lead to socialism in America:
    • Ronald Reagan, at the time a registered Democrat and President of the Screen Actor's Guild, stated in 1961: If you don’t [stop Medicare] and I don’t do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.”
    • George H. W. Bush, while a candidate for the US Senate in 1964, described Medicare as “socialized medicine.”
    • Barry Goldwater in 1964: “Having given our pensioners their medical care in kind, why not food baskets, why not public housing accommodations, why not vacation resorts, why not a ration of cigarettes for those who smoke and of beer for those who drink.”
    • In 1996, while running for the presidency, Bob Dole stated that he was one of 12 House members who voted against creating Medicare in 1965. “I was there, fighting the fight, voting against Medicare ... because we knew it wouldn’t work in 1965.” [1992]
    Here are some other social programs that got similiar criticism:
    Social Security (OASDI)
    Unemployment Insurance
    Temporary Disability Insurance
    Medicare
    Medicaid
    Medicare Prescription Drug Plan
    Only history can judge events that happen; not human beings

    December 21, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  12. JP

    The CBO says the bill will save money. The bill won't save any money because it doesn't include the cost of fulfilling Obama's promise to "provide a path to citizenship" for the 12 million illegals. The bill also punishes states that implement tort reform. Yet again the lawyers and illegals come before the taxpayers.

    December 21, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. Americans do not want it...period.....

    read the poll numbers....don't try to sugar coat it.....NO, NO, NO.

    Those Senators and Congressmen who voted form it can start looking for jobs. Plus we'll overturn this socialist legislation in the next Congress.

    December 21, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  14. Barbara Waters Roop

    I hope you will break out opposition to the Senate bills between those who feel it goes too far and those who oppose it because it doesn't go far enough. When you do so, I think you'll find that much of the opposition is from liberals who feel it doesn't do enough. To leave that critical fact out of the poll and your story misleads your readers into thinking that a majority of Americans don't want reform. And I believe, based on the few polls that have broken the numbers our that way, that that's not correct.

    BWR

    December 21, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Perhaps the increase in favorable poll numbers come from the insurance industry whose stocks rose dramatically almost overnight. Without a public option, insurers must be deliriously happy at their new opportunities to exploit the sick and injured for profit.

    December 21, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. R Crouch

    One of the problems that I see with the poll, at least in the way that the poll is reported, is that CNN does not explore WHY people oppose the Senate health care reform legislation. I would guess that the majority of individuals oppose for conservative reasons, but believe there is probably a significant minority who oppose the legislation because it is not progressive enough for them. This would be important because, in the current Washington political climate, it would be far more likely that those who oppose the health care legislation for conservative reasons will be far more motivated to punish supporters at the polls than those who oppose the legislation for progressive reasons. Short comment: CNN tends to take the lazy way out with their poll analysis.

    December 21, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  17. Carl Abernathy

    It is very easy to get the polling results you want when you are like CNN and maintain mostly all democrat-owned phone numbers.

    December 21, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. NVa Native

    If the debate was a real debate, everyone but Fox followeaners (28%) would be for the Health Care Bill. But with all the tea-bagger and neo-con lies and deception there has not been a debate, just an ignorant and arrogant display of "NO" by the party of home-grown terrorism.

    December 21, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. don

    Let's see what the obstructionists have to say now.

    December 21, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  20. N. working mom,FL

    I am so happy about health care bill pass for the first time and thank you for Pres. Obama + those senates who work so hard day &night for this bill. It is like Cristmas gift for my family. I am a CNA work full time in hospital .My husband works fulltime as well .We have 4 kids.house hold income around 30000 $ a years.I got health insurance for my job.But we are still stuggling with the insurance.After doctor visiting because we cannot afford to pay prescription 130$ each time. It cost us 150$ total for ear infection so my husband has to live with the pain in the ear . In 2010 I have to work as prn for my job Because I continue my education in college for Nursing program (RN)so from January 2010 I have no insurance cover for my family. I will just pray for all my kids please do not sick . But when I hear about this health care reform bill it makes my day & hope for americans people it is a time for middle class & millions who have no insure.It is a right thing for the people to make more 200000& should pay more. And I feel sorry for (R) senates the more they oppose the more they fail Because the reality is millions of the people like me need change &help out for health care that we can afford. We want action from the goverment & make it works not just argurment and throw the bad things to each other in the congress. Thank you

    December 21, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  21. Tony

    How can support be up for a 2700 page be THAT NO ONE UNDERSTANDS? Its been out for less than 2 days. So this poll is worthless. The support would be for the bullet points and lies told by the left. Who could possibly be for 1/2 a trillion dollars more in taxes?

    December 21, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. gt

    i have never been so sick to my stomach watch this bill... nelson and landrieu were acting like mob bosses,,, the senate should be ashame of this ugly, evil ,mess of a bill,,,,,,,,,

    December 21, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  23. Texas

    This will be good for the country. The GOP is still mad about the election so they are trying everything to try and stop progress...even at the expense of overlooking the needs of society. Yes I think everyone should pay their own way…yes I believe that big government is not good for the country…yes I believe in capitalism...and yes I think I pay too much in taxes. However…congress has not stepped up to the plate in pass years to address this issue. But when it comes to the large insurance companies…they have always been there for them. The bill is not the best and will not answer and address every issue and concern. However is progress in the right direction and will benefit millions of people.

    December 21, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  24. Vets4Obama

    Only Four in Ten think republicans are right.
    If you are going to EVER quote statistics, make sure you quote that one FIRST. Otherwise, don't bother, you are a partisan moron.

    December 21, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  25. R.J in tucson az

    this bill is a disaster and a assualt on our liberties prison if we dont buy into this socialized health care besides the military,the government cant run s**t. this is a sad day for amerika,comrads,welcome to the new socialist states of amerika,death to our liberty and freedom,has now commenced,thanks to this radical libtarded president,:(

    December 21, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
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