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. A Concern citizen

    Where is the public option????? Dead?????

    December 21, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  2. sensible Cape Coral FL

    I believe very strongly in the two party system but all Republicans must be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for their obstructionism and delaying tactics to prevernt passage of this bill.

    December 21, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  3. single mom

    Two questions –
    1. Could someone just state in simple, non-legalistic jingo terms exactly what is in this bill that the Democrats are so eager to pass? Most of them aren't sure what is in the bill!

    2. How are they going to pay for it? We've already mortgaged the country several times over to China! It'll take a millenium to pay off the debt as it is.

    December 21, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  4. Indiana Voter

    In other words, people still oppose the bill by a huge majority and the Democrats are shooting themselves in the foot yet again in a big way. Basically they are creating another govt. run monster that years from now, we will be trying to figure out how to fix it and save it from going bankrupt, much like medicare. Republicans need to run on reversing this bill and they will do great in 2010.

    December 21, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  5. gerryluimes

    Although the Bush-Cheney period cannot be considered the happiest time during the cons.reign,let us try to find a civil and respectful attitude back in the country.There are alwys two parts to a question,an answer,or a reward.People are both good and bad.
    As a non supporter of Cheney i must admit that I believe he had his good side too.Unfortunately his philosphy and that of his "boss" proved to be disastrous.................

    December 21, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  6. notfooledbydistractions

    I'm not surprised at the increase in support. I expect to grow as more and more people learn about what the bill really contains. The neysayers with their death panels and plans to kill grandma will be relegated to obscurity. It's a replay of the medicare debate in the 60's. The republicans and all their nonsensical obstructions are on the wrong side of history on this issue.

    December 21, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  7. JC

    The proposed senate bill falls short in many areas, as far as I'm concerned, but it is a starting point. I think Americans will gradually warm to a bill when they learn about the checks it places on large insurance companies and the ways it can help those in need. More importantly, it will restore our hopes that congress can actually pass meaningul legistlation–even amidst an avalanche of special interest lobbying and partisan games.

    December 21, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  8. cjg

    When something is broke , you fix it , not do nothing like the GOP wants.

    So increased support is not surprising to me, althought it is ashame that the Republicans will be on the wrong side of history along with most of the south!
    I live in the south so I can say that and not be slamming it and love where I live.. But Facts are Facts and I hear all the hate and preposperous assumptions that is spewed here , so glad some more informed people are wanting to fix a broken system.

    December 21, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  9. Ann

    I believe we heard Obama repeat in hundreds of speeches that he woud provide a public option. Repetitively we heard that if you liked your insurance you could keep it, but that you will have the option of a government run public health insurance policy which provides the same coverage as we, the members of congress give ourselves. His later decision that he would sign a bill with no public option is a far cry from the campaign promise. Without a public option, there is no health care system. The health care bill with no public option simply provides free reign to private insurers to continually increase premiums showing them that Americans are unable to vote for a public option which competes with and controls spiraling premiums. I guess that Americans are going to have to suffer real badly before they get to the point of being willing to march down Pennsylvania Avenue demanding either a public option or better yet, a single payor system equivalent to the rest of the civilized countries in the world. How long will it now take? Another 50 years? I guess a lot more people have to be without insurance and medical treatment. I guess instead of feeling good about their typical $1,500 per month in premiums for a family of two, we need for the premiums to increase to $3,000 per month. Do you think if their premiums are 75% of their income that they will be ready for help?

    December 21, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  10. Classic!!!

    Classic....
    "According to the poll, 42 percent of Americans, based on what they've read or heard about the bill, support Senate Democrat's legislation."

    The "Bill" wasn't unveiled until Saturday. People have no idea what's in it. People simply don't know what their government is doing, and don't want it to take over any of america's industries.

    December 21, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. RAG

    It's simple really. As people learn the truth about the bill, they like it. All the 56% disapproval rating shows is that 56% either haven't a clue what the bill is really about or are morally defective.

    December 21, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  12. Dan Clayton

    How can a bill that is created by the referees in Washington based on their perception of fairness make the game more effective? The short answer and the unfortunate one is they cannot. There will be plenty to spin from, but I think it is a sad comment that America favors the referee’s perception over that of the professionals.

    I predict costs will rise, and much like Mass. they will be forced to start defining the types of care that are acceptable. That is when ingenuity and progress start to fall behind the world and lines/waiting lists for care start to grow. Why should America be any different than other socialized medicine trials? We won’t be.

    December 21, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  13. Frankie

    Interesting how people are showing little patience for Obama to clean up W's mess. It took George 8 years to make it, yet so many people are disappointed that Obama doesn't have it cleaned up already. On the health care thing; it's easy to say the nation doesn't need health care when we already have it individually. The ones that don't have it are in the minority, so even though it's killing them on a daily basis, to hell with them. Whatever happened to taking care of ones brother?

    December 21, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  14. Shawn S

    CNN polls are not considered valid and this poll is not any different
    Nothing has happened to have people support the bill more.
    If anything less support should be expected.
    Just like all CNN's other pollls they manipulate the results to try and EFFECT peoples opinion rather than detemine it.
    They think people will get on the bandwagon if others are too in high numbers.
    This has worked in the past but now WE HAVE THE INTERNET.
    You can NOT control issues and people's access to details.
    The media's rule over American minds is over.

    December 21, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  15. Melody

    The polls will continue to grow once more people realize what's in the bill that will benefit them.

    December 21, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  16. Lynda/Minnesota

    Absolutely hilarious! The right threw tea party after tea party. They yelled, they screamed, they stamped their feet. They repeated every lie big business put forth, all the while praising themselves that was was they and their efforts which were *tanking* Mr. Obama's poll numbers.

    Only to find out ... his poll numbers are exactly where they have always been...

    Thanks CNN for the laugh of the day!

    December 21, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "Support is also up 10 points among younger Americans, compared to only two points among people 50 and older."

    What more needs to be said to explain why, after 5-6 decades of hating Medicare and Social Security as "entitlement" programs that they wished to eviscerate, the GOP suddenly is feigning concern for Medicare? That's right children...they need to keep the elderly around as long as possible, because once the next generational shift takes place, they're absolutely hosed.

    December 21, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  18. Spencer

    56% of the American people are against the health reform bill. It took until the last sentence in the third paragraph to get to this negative polling number. Is this a balanced report or are back to jumping on the Obama band wagon?

    December 21, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  19. Bill Mitchell

    And CNN will keep adjusting the political affiliation makeup of their sample unto eventually a majority support Obamacare.

    Just remember that both Gallup and Rasmussen say that Dem hold only a 3 point lead in party identitification currently. So when you see CNN giving Dems an 18 point sampling advantage, you'll know their game.

    December 21, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  20. Shawn S

    Just Google Paul Steinhauser and see that he hasn't been involved in any article that didn't show "progress" for a Democrat.
    It seems that in CNN's world, all of the DNC's opposition never has a good day or does anything well.

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

    Sometimes you just have to do the right thing. And supporting and passing healthcare reform is just one of those things. Isn't it about time the US catches up to every other industrialized country in the world and gets its act together on the healthcare front? It's not that difficult to understand – unless your brain has stopped functioning because of all the neo-con ideology. But that only applies to Republicans, doesn't it? Everyone else gets its. Heck, even my eight-year-old son gets it.

    December 21, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  22. Marion/Birmingham,Al

    What is wrong with the Democrats? If the Majority of the American People Oppose this bill why are they trying to shove it up our A$$? If ithis bill does not take affect for (4) years and 45,000 people die each year because they do not have health insurance,are the Democrats forcing 180,000 people to die while they wait for the bill to take effect? You can not have it both ways,even if you are a bed wetting cry baby liberal democrat.

    December 21, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  23. Jason

    The most important exerpt from this article is that a majority still oppose this extremely poor written bill that the Senate is trying to push down the public's throat at the last minute. Penalizing people for not having healthe care, and putting insurance companies out of business' and losing any kind of health care advancement by making it a generic medical support. Ask the military how well the medical support provided by the governement is. I hope they issue us all a medic bag. Social medicine doesn't work well for any other country, especially one of our size. Thank you Senators, you are making the choice for your successors much easier for everyone.

    December 21, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  24. Dan

    And yet the Republicans continue to lie and say the American people don't want it. Yeah, right....

    December 21, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  25. mrgaston

    You know what I worry about? That the terrorists are using the “inner war” within the US to their advantage. How can you win a war, if you are at an “inner war” yourself? The world needs a good/great example, this is definitely not it. And the Muslim world knows it. and they are using it.

    December 21, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
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