Washington (CNN) – Only three in ten Americans say they want Congress to pass legislation similar to the health care reform bills that have already been approved by the House and Senate, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey also indicates that nearly half the public, 48 percent, would like federal lawmakers to start work on an entirely new bill, and 21 percent feel Congress should stop working an any bills that would change the country's health care system.
The survey's Tuesday release comes one week after Republican Scott Brown's victory in a special senate election in Massachusetts. The GOP win means once Brown is sworn in as a senator, the Democrats will lose their 60-seat supermajority in the chamber, making their chances of passing the current health care reform legislation extremely difficult.
"Opposition to health care legislation is highest among senior citizens," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Twenty-nine percent of people over 65 want Congress to stop working on health care completely, compared to 20 percent of people under the age of 50."
According to the poll, Americans are equally divided on whether Congress will pass a health care bill by the end of the year.
Fifty-eight percent of people questioned in the survey oppose the bills previously passed by the House and Senate, with 38 percent supporting that legislation.
Would a stripped-down version win more support from the public?
"Yes, but a majority would still oppose a bill that would increase regulations on health insurance companies but not increase the number of Americans with health coverage," says Holland. "Support for a bill that only deals with insurance companies rises to 47 percent, but 51 percent would oppose a bill like that."
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted January 22-24, with 1,009 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report