November 17th, 2009
12:05 PM ET
13 years ago

CNN Poll: Americans split on health care reform

Washington (CNN) - Americans are split over the health care bill which narrowly passed the House of Representatives earlier this month, according to a new national poll - and the survey suggests the opposition to the legislation isn't coming only from the right.

But despite the controversy surrounding the health care bill, the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Tuesday suggests there has been no change in the Democratic Party's chances of keeping control of Congress in next year's midterm elections, or in President Barack Obama's standing with the public.

The survey suggests that 46 percent of Americans favor the bill, which passed in the House on November 7 by a 220 to 215 margin, with 49 percent of the public opposed to the legislation.

"Roughly one in three Americans opposes the House bill because it is too liberal, but one in 10 oppose the bill because it is not liberal enough," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "That may indicate that a majority opposes the details in the bill, but also that a majority may approve of the overall approach taken by House Democrats and President Obama."

As a result, despite the division over the House bill, a majority of Americans would like to see the Senate take up the legislation. Three in 10 people questioned in the survey want the Senate to pass the House bill with only minor changes, with another 22 percent wanting the Senate to pass the bill only if major changes are made. Another 28 percent feel the Senate should start from scratch and start working on a completely new bill, and 17 percent want Congress to stop working on health care reform altogether.

The poll indicates that Americans are split over whether it's likely the health care bill passed by the House will become law by the end of this year - but nearly six out of 10 feel it's likely that will happen by the end of 2010. "The public expects that a Democratically-controlled Congress and a Democratic president can get their act together on health care and pass something by next year," Holland says. "That puts pressure on the party to showcase some sort of accomplishment on health care by the time next year's midterm elections roll around."

Next November, all 435 seats in the House and more than a third in the Senate are up for grabs. Democrats currently hold a 258-177 advantage in the House, and a 20-seat advantage in the Senate.

According to the poll, 49 percent of those questioned would vote for the Democratic candidate in their congressional district, with 43 percent supporting the Republican. The generic ballot question asked respondents if they would vote for a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district, without naming any specific candidates.

"That 6-point margin is unchanged from an early November poll taken just before the dramatic health care vote on November 7," notes Holland. "The Democrats would certainly like their number to be higher, but the lack of movement suggests no blowback yet from the health care vote on the party's electoral chances next year."

The survey also indicates that the president's standing with the public has remained steady: His approval rating was 54 percent in early November, and stands at 55 percent now.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted November 13-15, with 1,014 adult Americans questioned by telephone. 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 • President Obama
soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. mark

    Healthcare reform, only if abortion is completely ,100%, out of it. Abortion is not a healthcare matter.

    November 17, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  2. mark

    Only if abortion is completely, 100%, out of healthcare. Abortion has never been a healthcare matter

    November 17, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  3. wait a minute

    "The Healing of America" by T.R. Reid is worth reading.

    Kaiser Family Foundation is another source of information for our decision-making on health care reform.

    November 17, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. If my people, which are called by my name shall humble themselves,and pray,and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land. 2 Chron. 7 S Callahan

    I only ask that President Obama stay true to his promise/ his word.
    No financing of abortions with taxpayer dollars, that would be inclusive of any plan private or public that utilizes tax dollars. This is a moral issue, no different than botox injections, and should be treated as that..let those who want it pay for it on their own, and respect those who don't by not forcing them to pay out of their own tax dollars. Keep health in the debate, provide care for the poor and disfrancished. Get this passed...we ARE our sister and brother's keeper...and in view of many other countries we are a little delayed in responding to that calling when it comes to health care.

    November 17, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. MARK

    The CNN poll is the only nation poll that has it that close. Most other polls show the public is more against than for reform....especially Pelosi and Obama's type of reform.

    November 17, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. sensible Cape Coral Fl

    Since the Health Insurance Companies are so vigorously opposed to the Health Care Reform Bill, doesn't that tell you everything you need to know about it?

    November 17, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. Susan

    I'm all for health care reform, but I also believe in a single payer plan. Those who don't believe in reform are comprised of ...

    1. People who already have coverage and have secure employment.
    2. People who chose not to have coverage and use hospital ERs as their medical providers thinking "it's free". Not truly understanding that those who have insurance coverage are picking up their tabs.

    I'm certain the "nay-sayers" would be all for health care reform if [for some reason] they were to lose their existing coverage.

    November 17, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  8. Patman

    Just what we need, another CNN poll! And you wonder why your ratings are tanking!

    November 17, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  9. Erik S.

    If the Democrats try to push through ANYTHING helping Illegals, the Democrats will lose 2010 and beyond, believe it.

    November 17, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. Chris

    Just think it only took a little over 4500 words to start this country (the Consitution.) This bill is over 2000 pages long, wow! Here is a novel idea to have both sides be quiet and get back to dealing with real world issues (unemployment, the "scarity" of food for people, etc.) Let the Democrats write a bill up the put in up for an American vote. If the bill gets 60%, then it passes and we also know that it was meant to be. Let us not have lobbyist and Congress make our decision for us.

    November 17, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. Sam Sixpack

    The story claims "The survey suggests that 46 percent of Americans favor the bill."


    The story then explains 67% of Americans want the House bill either majorly changed or thrown out all together (22% + 28% + 17% = 67%).


    Unless you meant to say Americans are "split" 2 to 1 against this scam, this story is a lie.

    November 17, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  12. Marshall

    Healthcare Reform...I am still waiting for my H1N1 shot.

    November 17, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
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