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. Obama 2.0

    I am an Independent and I say pass it. It won't be perfect but doing nothing again and again expecting different results is insanity.

    November 17, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  2. panem et circensus

    Good grief! Controtions of this sort (to try and twist the facts into "support") are usually only seen at Circ...

    November 17, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  3. jajja

    want another sign on why government run healthcare is a bad idea? have you heard of the recent gov panel suggesting women should not get a mamogram until age 50????? HEALTHCARE RATIONING IS STARTING FOLKS!!! apparently, the 15% of women saved from breast cancer between 40 yrs and 50 yrs are not worth saving. When are we going to wake up......................the death panel have already started. For the love of not let Obama and Pelosi spend over a trillion dollars to overhaul the healthcare system so that decisions like this are made.

    November 17, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. A Real Reformer

    Amazing, isn't it? The Republicans refuse to acknowledge private enterprise's pricing ripoffs of the American public and the Democrats refuse to acknowledge the HUGE fraud involved in our health care system.
    If just both of these parties acknowledged that the other side has a case, imagine how easy and inexpensive health care for Americans would be. But that will never happen because the two party system that made America great no longer works and that is what really needs reforming!.

    November 17, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. george from alaska

    the insurance company death panels must be ok for palin who thinks corporations (not regular folks) should dictate who lives or dies. tic toc tic toc tic toc...thank GOD her 15 minutes are almost over!

    November 17, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  6. Sea.gem

    Man they are twisting facts with "could be"...btw...virtually all Americans are for reform altough you pretened repubs are against it...repubs are against a plan that will not work , is financially unsound and that subsidises and encourages illegal immigration. I thought CNN was trying ot portray itself has "objective'..running drivel like this and posting 1-3 anti-Palin rants a day is far from 'unbiased and objective'.

    November 17, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  7. Michelle

    WE NEED HEALTH CARE REFORM. What I don't need is the GOP saying NO to every idea or solution.

    November 17, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  8. SLM

    As usual those without health insurance want the rest of us to pay for them. Democrats want everything for free, courtesy of the working people. Everyone needs to be responsible for themselves and pay for their own health coverage. Governments only job is to make sure health care is affordable and available for all to purchase. NOTHING is Obama care will reduce health insurance premiums..........that's NOT their goal, their goal is to be a one payer system. Watch out, this from the government that can't even run a vaccine program for all Americans...............just the tip of the iceberg. Careful what you wish for, we are on the brink of destroying quality health care in America.

    November 17, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  9. B

    It is interesting to note that the health care coverage that congress gets already contains attributes that the Republicans do not want included in the health care bill for the rest of us.

    Take about Hypocrites....

    November 17, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. Kevin in Ohio

    We are NOT split... we all agree in principal that some reform is needed. But this monstrosity of a bill put forth by Pelosi and Reid is simply one we cannot afford. It will bankrupt us all, and it fails to look at practical soultions such as tort reform.

    November 17, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  11. Moderate Democrat

    If you got the right disagreeing with it because it's too liberal, and the left disagreeing with it because it's not liberal enough, then the fact is that the creators did a STELLAR job of creating a good piece of legislation that meets the middle ground.

    PASS IT!

    November 17, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  12. Joe

    Any legislation that requires 1900+ pages isn't legislation at all. It's a trojan horse full of special interest payoffs, vote buying and political paybacks. this bill isn't good for americans, it's only good for the politicians and their cronies.

    Repub, Dem, I don't care! I wish we could throw them all out and start fresh!

    and to those that think we should pass it vs. doing nothing....I couldn't disagree more. If it ever passes, we, our children and their chirldren will be living with the aftermath. I say scrap it, start again and address each healthcare problem individually. no amendments and no "one-size-fits-all" solutions!

    November 17, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  13. debra handel

    I'd say it's the verbiage not the picture that bothers her. Sexist- so what was it when Obama was plastered topless on the beach?? Stop whinning Sarah. Everyone is just so mean to you...booo hooo.

    November 17, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  14. Tiff of Lithia Springs

    We do need something in the way of reform. Unfortunately as a provider I will probably get out of the health care business. Unless, someone pays my loans!

    November 17, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  15. Johnny DC

    The fact that a CNN Poll shows more opposition than support should tell you Liberals (not to mention the Liberals in power right now) that this legislation is massively opposed.

    CNN and it's Liberal-leaning audience generally misrepresent the general public substantially with support for the left. If this poll was conducted in a neutral environment, you'd see the opposition as high as 60%.

    November 17, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  16. Debbie

    The title is misleading. In a 2 to 1 ratio that means one side favors health care reform. And in a democracy that is the way the cookie crumbles. Who is split are politicians who have insurance companies, drug companies, etc put money into their re-election campaigns.

    November 17, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. Vets4Obama

    Only morons think TORT reform is any kind of reform. There is no way you can place the word "reform' after TORT. It will do NOTHING to help reform health care in this nation. It attacks a problem that only represent ONE HALF OF ONE PERCENT, and its supporters are ignorant enough to think that the insurance companies are actually going to pass that savings on to the consumer, which has NEVER happened, but some how it will magically happen now.

    Well they tried and passed TORT "IDIOCY" in Texas. Result: Health Care cost continue to rise. The only thing it does is place a cap on how much human life is worth. If a doctor kills you "oh well, you aren't worth that much, go to hell with that beloved dead person we killed".

    And shut up about competing across state lines, last time I checked: AETNA, Blue Cross, Blue Shield and a score of other insurance companies are in EVERY STATE OF THE UNION. Result, a health care system that ranks right near the bottom in the free world.

    November 17, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. Fox Filbert

    The RNC had a provision for abortions in their insurance policies until last week. They still have end of life consultations that Sarah and Grassley call "Death Panels." They just do not want any other Americans to have the same opportunities.

    November 17, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  19. Faye

    I absolutely do not agree that Americans are split on health care reform, no way at all. If the huge costs, restrictions, and limitations of health care needs haven't hit you personally they have hit a family loved one or friend. We "ALL" know of horrible appalling stories of people who can't get insurance and even die of terrible diseases and injuries, and we don't even need to have the media to tell us about these things. We have to get the Republicans to wake up and help get the reform passed. Health care reform isn't just for Democrats it's for ALL Americans. We have to fight for it.

    November 17, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. Robin

    Healthcare Insurance reform is a must. But the bill that Pelosi and Reid have penned is terrible for our country and for the people. It won't pass and 2010 will be a rude awakening for the dems.

    November 17, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  21. Fox Filbert

    By the way, Glenn Beck is not a nut. We just have to keep him locked in a coat locker once in a while to keep him from hurting himself.

    November 17, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  22. Marco Polo was wrong

    Most people are for a health care rules re-work. Democrats love to decry that Republicans "have no health plan". Well, they do. They just can't get it out of committee to the floor of the house – due to Democrats blocking it. Do not pass this piece of garbage. It's loaded with non-health related power grabs. Read something besides CNN and Drudge and you find out.

    November 17, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  23. Denz

    Wank wank wank. I think the cover is pretty well done. I'm not a fan of Palin or have even a glimmer of confidence in her as a politician – but the concept of the image is pretty well thought through and I'm surprised she didn't see this as a boon.

    Ironing out the wrinkles in america. I suppose she'd rather use it as toilet paper?

    November 17, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  24. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but.....

    Count me as thinking it's not liberal enough. What we really need is some sort of single payer system like every other industrialized nation on the planet. Funny, though, the proposed healthcare reform costs about as much over 10 years as we spend on the military in one year. Cut out 10% of the military budget and that sucker's paid for. Have a nice day!

    November 17, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  25. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Thats because MOST Americans want "Single Payer",not watered down versions that only help profit the companies and crooks that run them.

    November 17, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
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