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. R. Savage

    Hold on!! I agree that there is cost that needs to be taken out of health care. But why should I take from my family and pay more medical benefits for those that made their lifes choices and refuse to work in any economic environment?

    No made your bed..sleep in it!!

    November 17, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. Stupid liberals

    This bill will be the DOWNFALL OF AMERICA

    November 17, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  3. SiNNCucks

    This administration and congress are off their rockers. It doesn't take a great stretch of the imagination to see that there will be a tremendous ripple affect from the passage of this bill. In a very bad kinda way.

    November 17, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. Faye

    The only ones against health care reform are the rich and feel comfortable and secure and do not realize the effect on our society and economy if peoples health care needs are not met. It drags everything down and costs all of us even more. I also might add that, my husband and I were not rich but we certainly were in the above average income bracket (over $100,000) and we ended up bankrupt and struggling until his death. We thought we had the best insurance. So don't think it can't happen to you. It can happen to any of us.

    November 17, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. Sea.gem

    this administrastion has already been caught in its lies about the Stimulus package and job creation (where is your coverage on this CNn?...even ABC is on it)...and we are to expect them to cntrol spending and fraud in a multi-trillion dollar endeavor?...what a sad joke.

    November 17, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. Dean in Florida

    Americans are not split about health care reform. Americans want health care reform. Americans do not want Obama's version of health care reform.

    November 17, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. 30 Year Veteran

    Here again who gets to take these polls. I AGAINST OBAMA'S HEALTH PLAN. However I know we need something done. But this man's plan will be the ruination of most middle class and below. The benefits are going to drop out of sight. He needs to start with The Doctors who charge way too much, then the medical institutions whose rates are preposterous. Then to the insurance companies who raises rates at the whim of the wind. I'm talking, automobile, home, and health. Grab them make them pay what is presented or get out of the business. Disasters hit they should be in the area the next day taking claims. OBUMMIES PLAN HAS NOTHING TO COVER THIS ALL HE WANTS TO DO IS TAKE MEDICARE AND PUT IT INTO A COOP.

    November 17, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. aware

    Roll on 2012! The totally unqualified, arrogant, narcissistic and ignorant AC Obama is destroying America. 🙁

    November 17, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  9. machtim akannah

    If it takes 1990 pages to present the bill AND if Congress and the President have not read the bill AND if the verbage of the bill is so convoluted that even lawyers would have difficulty interpreting the bill, AND if Congress itself will not abandon their current health care paid for by the taxpayers and sign onto the bill, then the bill is NO GOOD.

    November 17, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |

    This Bill is dead on arrival. The Senate won't pass it with the public option and the house blue dogs won't pass it if it contains abortion funding. The longer it takes, the less likely there will be any health care reform at all. Besides, this bill costs way too much and will tax those who can least afford it, while giving a pass to those that have no income, which is now 17 percent (unemployed) of the population. Scrap the bill and start over next year, although I doubt the democrats will have the political will to pass anything this massive in an election year.

    November 17, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  11. Tarheel

    Why dont the Dims just go all the way and offer FREE health care for everyone. Surely a nation as prosperous as ours can provide this simple little service for us. Why would they try to pass a health care bill that leaves up to thirty million of our citizens without health insurance? Why even bother if your'e just going to half do the job? What a cowardly bunch the Dims must be to control the House, the Senate, and the White House, and still not be able to pass Free Universal Health Care. Don't try the blame Repubs on this one. The Dims don't need a single vote from them.

    November 17, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  12. billincalif

    THIS HEALTHCARE PACKAGE IS NO LONGER ABOUT HELPING THE MANY BUT A FIERCE BATTLE OF IDEALOGY. In the end there will be a blood bath in 2010 and we'll have another GOVERNMENT MONSTROSITY to feed.

    November 17, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. ETM

    This is a good, not great, bill and it will pass. The legislation will be improved in time, when there are fewer obstructionist Republicans in Congress.

    November 17, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  14. Florence

    No one asked me, and I am American. I resent headline as such. Polls don’t represent us. You want to know what Americans want, put it to vote.

    November 17, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  15. annie s

    Forgive me if I say I am ashamed of my fellow Americans. Access to affordable health care should be a right for all citizens of this country. The House bill, while certainly not perfect, will move us in the right direction. How sad that we are a nation of people who are selfish (I have mine so screw the rest of them!) and so unintelligent that they believe sound bites from the radical right rather than facts.

    November 17, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  16. bob

    wow where did this person get the idea most americans want single payer system? from Nancy Pelosi and Henry Waxman? that is the opposite of what americans want, we want choices and not socialism

    November 17, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  17. Sniffit


    You're about 6-7 decades late on that score pal.

    "have you heard of the recent gov panel suggesting women should not get a mamogram until age 50?????"

    Have you heard of citing your sources? I can make things up too: Have you heard of the gov't panel suggesting children born in Kenya automatically get a Hawaiian birth certificate just on the off chance they grow up to be extremely intelligent and charismatic Harvard Law School grads and then state and federal Senators and eventually run for POTUS?

    November 17, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  18. Stop the Spending

    Reforms starts with 2 pages, not 1900:
    1. Pre-existing conditions cannot be an exclusion
    2. National Tort Reform. For all those that have not gone to medical school and not practiced medicine today, ask your doctor why he or she is ordering tests. It is to cover themselves from the phone book lawyers. All the European countries have strict medical liability, that is why their care is partly less.
    3. Open up insurance accorss state lines. It costs the tax payer nothing and at this point is worth a try. For all those that complain it won't work, how can you be so sure.
    4. Prove that the Government can truely weed out fraud an abuse in 2 already government run plans, Medicare and Medicaid. Until then, there should not be any consideration of any government option.

    November 17, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  19. Veritas

    Imagine if the government wasn't spending tens of millions of our own taxpayer dollars to convince us its a good idea! It would be more like 10% for and 90% against.

    Will there be any other goods and services I will be forced to buy? Hopefully I won't have to pay for cars for everyone out of my taxes next! You laugh but its amazing what people think are a "right" now a days. Cars and big screen TV ownership are among them!

    November 17, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  20. New Age Independent

    "I am an Independent and I say pass it" says the guy with the name "Obama 2.0".

    Yes to Healthcare Reform!

    NO to government run Healthcare!!!

    November 17, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  21. Paul Leinweber

    The left likes to claim that because the right does not want government provided health care, they are somehow against reform. That is balatently untrue, they simply dont want Social Medicine which is more than reform. Further more... why should my son or I who are diabetic, pay what will one day become 16% of our income to take care of left wing government option advocates while we get pushed back to the end of the health care line do to QALY statistical studies? I bet most advocates dont even know what a QALY is. National Health care is "health care for the healthy" not health cre for the sick. It's Eugenics at its finest! Can you say. Welcome to the USSA I mean "R".

    November 17, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. Terry from West Texas

    The Republican strategy is working. They wanted to drag this debate out as long as possible. They knew that the voters in the soft middle, the folks who call themselves independents, are very volatile. They are for the hero of the moment and the latest flashy thing.

    After the steady pounding of Republican politicians criticizing every move Obama makes – from his choice of breakfast cereals to the color of his pajamas – the soft middle starts to crumble. They are these naive folks who think that significant changes can be made that all Americans will approve of. The don't like controversy.

    November 17, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  23. Marion/Alabama

    What a circus,and the ring master is a liar,as we have seen,from all the broken promises. The stimulis is even a lie,now it comes out that there has been more reported jobs created in places where there are no congressional districts... when the lies stop and they have a bill that the Tax Payer has a chance to read and comment on,then there may be a reason to consider Health care reform.

    November 17, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  24. D

    Regarding Beck......he actually did a show a year ago saying we needed socialized medicine period. He just changed his tune to 'we have the best system' when a democrat got elected (typical).

    Reality is, the BEST health care systems in the world are socialized. To many right wingers just think that word means 'soviet union, and communism' which they obviously just are uneducated and do not understand. Our system is based on pure profit, where every transaction gets a markup, result YOU pay for it. Be for reform, or against it, doesn't matter, rate the increases are going within 10 years it will collapse (if not sooner by current projections). Then at that point, you get socialized medicine, or none at all. The GOP version just allows more greedy hands in the pot to bankrupt the system faster. So choice is simple, either take a public option, or roll the dice and have nothing.

    November 17, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  25. Terry from West Texas

    Dean in Florida wrote: "Americans are not split about health care reform. Americans want health care reform. Americans do not want Obama's version of health care reform."

    1. Half of us support Obama's version, half of us do not. Americans are split.

    2. What kind of health care "reform" is it that Conservatives always refer to but can never describe?

    November 17, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
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