December 22nd, 2009
10:33 AM ET
7 months ago

Polls: Majority oppose heath care bill

New polls show Americans are opposed to the Senate Health Care bill.
New polls show Americans are opposed to the Senate Health Care bill.

Washington (CNN) - For the second straight day, a new national poll indicates that a solid majority of Americans oppose the health care bill that Democrats are pushing through the Senate.

According to a Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday morning, 53 percent of the public disapproves of the proposed changes, with 36 percent supporting the bill.

That follows a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Monday that indicated 42 percent favor the Senate Democrats' legislation, with 56 percent opposed.

Both surveys were conducted last week 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.

According to the Quinnipiac poll, Americans by an 18-point margin disapprove of the job President Barack Obama's doing on health care.

"As President Barack Obama's numbers on health care have declined so has his margin over Republicans on whom American voters trust most on the issue," says Peter Brown, Assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "In July he enjoyed a 20-point edge on the trust question, and that margin has been narrowing, to 45 – 40 percent today."

The Quinnipiac survey also indicates that while a majority of Americans oppose the health care plan, they back two options that were cut from the Senate bill. According to the poll, 56 percent support the option of getting coverage through a government health insurance plan, with 38 percent opposing the public option. And nearly two-thirds like the proposal to allow people as young as 55 to buy into the government run Medicare program, with three in ten opposed.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted December 15-20, with 1,616 registered voters from across the country questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: Health care
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. Henry

    I believe we should vote everyone out of congress and start from scratch. No-one truly cares about the American public, everyone is just lining their pockets and robbing us blind. We pay taxes from the time we wake up, to the time we go to sleep - for what? We're still in debt and it's climbing daily. Fire them all or vote them out!

    December 22, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  2. Lynn

    Has anybody else been missed in a poll? I sure have, never in my 70+ years have I been polled. Would love to know who they ask.

    December 22, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. Drew

    This headline and article are irresponsible. The whole thing is positioned to make it look like the Democrats are trying to force something that people don't want, when the reality is that the public wants more reform, not less.

    It's not good enough to say the public is not in favor of the bill without saying why. Is it too strong for the public or too weak? The answer to that question could lead to 2 completely different discussions in the social discourse. In the absence of the answer, the implication is that people oppose health care reforms, when according to the poll most favor the public option and the medicare extension. Based on those responses, a more accurate headline would be "Public thinks health care bill is too weak, wants public option and medicare extension."

    Also, saying that Obama's approvals are slipping without explaining the reason is meaningless without the why. Based on the other questions, the public is disappointed because he isn't going far enough, not because he is pushing for things the public dislikes.

    CNN should know better.

    December 22, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. Jim

    This just further illustrates how tone deaf politicians in Washington really are. Maybe attempting to do what is right and not scoring political points on artificial deadlines could really help this country. Change has not come to Washington yet.

    December 22, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. Patriot Games

    Why is this "bad news for Obama?" This is the middle of a messy legislative process, not a campaign. CNN used the same teaser headline yesterday morning, remoiving it before 8 am EST without ever posting the poll information.

    Quninnipiac's polls always shade conservative and CNN, well, is a cheerleader for all things Palin and the GOP. It's not helpful to the nation for you to be acceentuating anyone's narrative,

    December 22, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  6. mikl

    In 2010 and 2012 democrat will see respond to H.C. They going to lose big time. I m 100% sure of it.

    December 22, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  7. jfs Memhis, Tn

    I really do not understand what states and which districts you poll from ??? I live in a moderate district in Tn and ALL that I have spoken to are in favor of the legislation. They may not like all of it....but all are in agreement that the bases are there. I just really have to believe that you folks are making news and trying to encourage and promote what little issues now exist in this rather WEAK legislation.

    December 22, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  8. Beverly in NC

    No they don't. Most Americans SUPPORT healthcare reform. What they are not happy about is that the reform did not go far enough. We wanted a strong public option to bring us CHOICE and solid COMPETITION to the greedy, abusive insurance industry.

    The only immoral people against healthcare reform are Republicans who took millions in bribes from the insurance companies to kill reform. They care NOTHING about the American People. They have played political games all year with our lives and welfare.

    Make no mistake – Americans are thrilled with all the work the Democrats have done to give us healthcare reform. The only thing we are disappointed about is not getting the strong public option we wanted so much.

    Polls have actually jumped as much as 10% in the favor of Democrats and President Obama as soon as the healthcare bill passed cloture 1 AM on Monday.

    Republicans have betrayed Americans again and we will repay them will huge defeats in 2010 and 2012. They are anti-American and view those in need as rabble too far below their elitist status. The Party of NO is going to feel what those NO votes feel like when we use our NO vote to throw out these arrogant, negative, do-nothings.

    December 22, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  9. Tim Lister

    Why is the Obama administration so intent on getting this reform through? I believe that he and the liberals are intent on getting "something" done just for the sake of getting something done. How about tuning in to the voice of the constituents? Even those who drank the Kool-Aid and voted for Obama are scratching their heads now.

    December 22, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  10. john

    Of the people polled, did you ask any of them if the read it or understand it correctly? I think not. Ask these same people again next week, youll get copmpletely different numbers. These polls are meaningless.

    December 22, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  11. MVDCT

    The Democrats are telling all of us to turn our heads and cough. Sen. Harkin likes to call this bill a "starter home". Well, it's a starter home with shoddy construction, broken pipes, fixtures that don't work, floors and ceilings that are caving in. Liberals are hoping that this "starter house" bill becomes a "welfare palace". I have news for them, it's nothing more than a money pit.

    December 22, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  12. AEK

    There is no health care REFORM bill. The insurance lobbyists and their Republican/Blue Dog shills have made sure of that. Without a public option there is no competition. Without competition, the insurance companies win and WIN BIG. So, we go back to step one and start again with a new President and Congress who really care about standing up for what's best for Americans instead of what's best for the insurance companies.

    December 22, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  13. Anonymous

    People should check Nate Silver analysis. A sizable fraction of the people of disapproves the bill (53% in this poll) they do it from the left (they wish the bill did even more – e.g. public option, medicare buy-in).
    In fact, in the _same_ poll 56% favor a public option or madicare buy-in.

    Bottom line is that 56% do want a reform that is similar to what the Congress approved or to the pre-Lieberman Senate bill: this is not quite the bottom line presented by cnn.....

    December 22, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  14. Sean from Marin

    Of course they do. The Republians have been scaring the hell out of the American people for six months. People want jobs and this Republican caucus has convinced America that 10% of us don't have a job because health care is in the way. As an employer I can tell you health care costs are out of control and the care my people are getting is worse than five years ago. But Americans don't hear that in the news everyday. This Republican party is a joke.

    This is the recipe for 2010: Obama and team have saved the country. We brought it back from a depression. We saved banking. We saved the auto industry. We saved health care. We will now generate jobs and that will pay down the debt. Meanwhile, the Republicans can say they sat on their butts and said "no, no, no". I like our odds.

    December 22, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  15. Bill Kane

    When the Medicare bill was passed initial support was about 25%. People are against what the don't understand, so these results are not surprising and are actually probably better than expected. If people really believed that (1) only about 2% of tax payers will see a tax increase because of this plan, (2) that abortions will not be covered (3) that illegal aliens will not be covered and that (4) social security benefits will not go down or cost more...... all of which are in the final bill.... then these poll numbers would be very different.

    The great problem with these types of polls is that they don't ask the question "....... as compared to what....". For example, .... "do you like this bill compared to (someone else's plan) OR ".... "do you like the way President X is handling his job..... COMPARED TO THE JOB PERSON Y WOULD DO? With healthcare almost everyone agrees that something most be done – so asking the abstract opinion of the current proposal has no relevancy unless its compared to another plan; just as asking someone to evaluate the president's performance in a vaccuum isn't relavant either – since "none of the above" isn't on the ballot.

    December 22, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  16. cfrench

    Approval for health care reform is always going to be below 50% because the people with health insurance have had the snot scared out of them by the party of no, the republicans. You blow enough smoke up the public's collective behind and they'll be afraid of their own shadow.

    December 22, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  17. Marion/Birmingham,Al

    How is Obama still saying the public wants this? What happens when there are 20 states that want the rest of us to pay for their increases in medicaid,to get their vote?

    December 22, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  18. Enrico

    People should check Nate Silver analysis. A sizable fraction of the people of disapproves the bill (53% in this poll) they do it from the left (they wish the bill did even more – e.g. public option, medicare buy-in).
    In fact, in the _same_ poll 56% favor a public option or madicare buy-in.

    Bottom line is that 56% do want a reform that is similar to what the Congress approved or to the pre-Lieberman Senate bill: this is not quite the bottom line presented by cnn.....

    December 22, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  19. Carol

    I was for the bill until all the behind door dealings of the last week. They’re not interested in what’s best for the American people. They’re only interested in keeping their cushy jobs, taking their “deals” from the goody room back home to their constituents. They’re gambling, and the losers will be the American people.

    Vote ALL incumbents out next election, regardless of party. It's time we clean house.

    December 22, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  20. Thanh

    As the bill becomes more centrist, there's going to be more opposition. That's how polar the country has become on health care. Fewer people are able to compromise, and more people have the "all or nothing" mentality.

    December 22, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  21. Ron

    I was all for it, but now the things I hear about Ben Nelson's "deal" to not have Nebraskans pay for the program has soured me. They're The hwol point of this bill should be that we are all in this mess together and need to get out of it together. It smacks of elitism and pandering. Instead of congressmen whining about something and holding legislation hostage, they should just oppose things and then let the chips fall where they may. I'll gladly contribute outside my district to get rid of people that are obstructionists or that are pandering their votes for special favors.

    I am writing my congressmen today to get opposition to this crap noted.

    December 22, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  22. Reformed Republican

    No public options = NO MANDATE!

    WE WILL NOT BE EXTORTED BY THE HEALTH INSURANCE INDUSTRY.

    What don't these leg-breakers for big insurance in the senate get?

    December 22, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  23. Fooled Again

    They won't deal with illegal immigration,illegal wars or rendition, so what do they want to do? Give non workers free healthcare like drug addicts and bill the legal workers again.

    December 22, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  24. Stop the Spending

    Obama is just a talking head. If he were to read the CBO analysis carefully, they clearly state the deficit reduction is hard to forcast going forward. The way the CBO works is that it is given a bunch of what ifs in a bill, then they spit back answers. I think our President is truely naive or careless in stating a budget deficit reduction with 30 million more people getting health care through some type of government plan or subsidy.

    December 22, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  25. Rick from Murfreesboro, TN

    If there is no public option then there is no health care reform. Most of us still won't be able to afford health care and will be forced to use the Republican option of "Don't get sick".

    December 22, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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