August 19th, 2009
12:59 PM ET
13 years ago

Poll: Are town hall protests changing minds?

WASHINGTON (CNN) - As President Barack Obama's health care reform proposals face opposition this month at town halls across the country, a new poll indicates Americans' opinions of the president's plans, and of how he's handling the issue, have not changed.

More than six in ten people questioned in an NBC News survey released Tuesday say coverage in the media of the town hall protests have not changed their feelings regarding the president's health care proposals. Nineteen percent said the coverage makes them feel less favorable of Obama's plans, and 16 percent say more favorable.

The poll suggests that Americans are divided on whether the protests have been helpful to the debate over health care reform, with 43 percent saying they've done more harm than good and 42 percent saying more good than harm.

The survey also indicates that protests have not affected opinions of the president's performance on the issue. According to the poll, 41 percent support how Obama's handling the issue of health care reform, with 47 percent opposed. The 41 percent who support the president is unchanged from an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll from mid-July, before Congress began its summer recess and intense media coverage of protests at health care town halls held by lawmakers. The 47 percent who oppose Obama's health care performance is up a single point from last month.

A Gallup poll released last week also suggested that the president's approval on health care is unchanged from last month.

"If the town hall protests were meant to sway public opinion, it appears that has not happened so far," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "If they were meant to sway the votes of members of Congress, we won't know whether they were successful until Congress returns from its summer break - and maybe not even then."

The NBC News poll was conducted August 15-17, with 805 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Filed under: Health care
soundoff (109 Responses)
  1. matt

    the Nazi basic cable we know NBC and MSNBC are in bed with the left wing nuts and obama

    August 19, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  2. Stew/Denver

    Town Hall protesters are proving that Republicans will promote fear and hatred using (and probably hiring) of less educated people. These protesters look and act like they lack education, the ability to read and most of all, IQ's of a guppy.

    August 19, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  3. DDM

    The reason they are pushing the bill, is someone is going to fill there pockets up with a lot of money, just like the 1 trillion dollar bail out money that I am going to have to help pay. So get rid of all those greedy SOB get some people in there, that does not care about filling there pockets up with taxpayers dollars and go back to what the founding fathers founded this country on.

    August 19, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  4. CR

    Health care reform is long overdue. The small bunch of loud-mouth teabaggers, birthers, and gun-brandishers should be ignored. The election was last November. Sore losers deserve no respect.

    August 19, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  5. Mark C. Eades

    I hope this teaches Democrats in Washington a valuable lesson on wasting time seeking "bipartisanship" with the the Republican Party as it presently exists. They should have known what the Republicans had up their sleeves for the August recess, and should have gotten a bill through Congress before this nonsense started.

    August 19, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  6. Connie Morsher

    Of course we are devided! With all the lies the right wing and the big Insurance companies have spread to people, they have done what they have set out to do. We need healthcare and the right wing will do anything they can to see that we don't get it. They are good at putting doubt in people's mind. And you know that if you are a Republican you listen to anything they tell you to do. Don't be a follower think for yourselves because it's your insurance that the big insurance companies are trying to control. And if you have medicare and social security didn't you know that they are controled by the government? Come on people wake up and smell the coffee!

    August 19, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  7. Chris

    I would hope that our elected leaders take notice that we, the American people, do not propose to support those who will not even try to help themselves. Yes, every American citizen has a right to healthcare, but with that right comes a responsibility -- that is to get off there duff and get to work earning their and their family's way through life. No one should have a right to a lifetime of others doing all the work to support them.

    August 19, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  8. Jake

    Only if Barney Frank is speaking! Send him to all of them! He's the only one not afraid to tell it like it is, and to call out all of the protestors on their bunk!

    August 19, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  9. makesUwonder

    You bet they are. If I just listened to these politicians and the liberal media I would be in the dark on many things this administration is trying to shove down throats.

    August 19, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  10. Mississippi Mike

    CNN and the entire political class don't get it. Townhall protests aren't like the staged protests of the leftists. The townhall protestors want to change the mind of their legislator, not draw attention to their cause. These people want their legislators to represent the opinions of the public and this is the only forum we get for direct interaction. If the Democrats think this is a war over influencing public opinion they are gravely mistaken.

    August 19, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. Halls

    It's amazing how easily some people believe anything they are told. For crying out loud, who in the world believes we're on the verge of "dealth panels" and we're going to have to watch out for nazies running around. If only these people were sitting next to me now, I have a wonderful lamp that grants any wish you want to make. I'll sell it cheap, I'm not using it. Any bidders??

    August 19, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  12. Al-NY,NY

    The protest have not swayed people because they have a brain and they know that the rabble-rousesrs are doing nothing but spouting talking points by Fat boy and the others and have absolutely NO interest in exchanging ideas. They only want to disrupt and cause chaos. Kudos to Barney Frank who put that old hag in her place. Hopefully others will follow his example

    August 19, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  13. Melissa

    Of course not. The protests are extremely childish. If anything, they should chase people away from refusing a public option.

    August 19, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  14. the southern progressive

    i imagine that those who are yelling the loudest and rudest didnt vote democrat in this last presidential election and probably never would.. so my opinion is that no real opinions have changed as of late.

    the opposition thinks that if they yell loud enough, then more people will think their numbers are larger than they really are..

    kudos to rep barney frank for setting the record straight, and calling bs when bs is being served by knowingly ill-informed screamers

    41% of americans still demand health care reform.. thats over a hundred million people.

    August 19, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. Angus McDugan

    Why are we interested in what this criminal has to say? Is it just because he is a lib? If he speaks his mind then that would make him a racist out of control extreemest (per the lib handbook).

    August 19, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. tv

    Where all the townhallers for the Bloomberg tax hikes ?

    August 19, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  17. Carolyn from Georgia

    That is the best statement I have heard since this debate started. I have another one simple description. You have a taxi service or your own personal vehicle to choose from. The public option is mass transit or the bus. In some large cities, like New York, some people drive their own vehicles to work. Some may prefer the personal service of a taxi driver, more expensive but it works. Others prefer to take Mass Transit.

    August 19, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  18. katiec

    What these misguided, pawns of big business do not realize is that they are helping the American people understand how essential Health Care Reform is.
    Their actions are an embarressment to true, intelligent American people and gives support for whatever they are raving against.
    I have never seen politicians, big business and the people they
    have brainwashed stoop to the level they have today.
    And, unfortunately the whole world is watching. I sure hope they
    realize these people the media loves to headline are not a true
    representation of the American people.

    August 19, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  19. John

    Nuisance in Town Hall Meetings is caused by Hooligans paid $8 an hour by the GOP.

    GOP intentionally is interfering and causing disruption in Town Hall Meetings.

    GOP is part of the HEALTH INSURANCE MAFIA.

    GOP did nothing for America in the Last 8 years.

    GOP is a Defunct and a Dud Party.

    GOP supports the Rich who amass Wealth by Plunder, Embezzlement and Defrauding the Poor and the Middle Class.

    GOP supported Madoff.


    August 19, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  20. Willy Brown

    YES. Why does the media and the Democrats and Obama administration resort to name calling when real honest Americans have valid questions for the current administration? I can remember when the left called Bush and the republican administration names but no media coverage because it was condoned by the left and media.

    August 19, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  21. Hells NO!

    NO hasn't changed my mind whatsoever! just increased my awareness of the republican nut jobs that are out there!

    August 19, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  22. Shellie on the plains.

    These nitwit protesters are proving that abortion really is medically necessary. I'd pay for that!

    August 19, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  23. George

    Townhalls have nothing to do with it. Lies from the insurance industry and republicans who want Obama and America to fail are hurting the American people. Lies from idiots who prey on the feeble minded Fox News viewers, and Rush Limbaugh addicts. The news media should hope the truth as an important thing, but obviously Fox News chooses to ignore the truth. They are still out killing grandma. If lies and liers are republican, thank God I'm democrat. If our people lied I wouldn't be happy and neither should the 65 percent of normal republicans.

    August 19, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  24. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    In response to the title: NO NO NO

    I felt like a member of the GOP saying that.

    August 19, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  25. carlo

    Just yesterday some idiotic teabagger yelled Heil Hitler at a Jewish man trying to discuss the Israeli healthcare syste, with an Israeli Defense fund t-shirt on. If anyone finds that helpful, then they need to see if they can get group rates from United Healthcare on lobotomies.

    August 19, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
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