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. Melissa

    They're split because they are uneducated. If they weren't, they'd be all for it.

    November 17, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  2. walleye

    It turns out that in eight states, plus the District of Columbia, getting beaten up by your spouse is a pre-existing condition.
    Under the cold logic of the insurance industry, it makes perfect sense: If you are in a marriage with someone who has beaten you in the past, you're more likely to get beaten again than the average person and are therefore more expensive to insure.
    In human terms, it's a second punishment for a victim of domestic violence.
    In 2006, Democrats tried to end the practice. An amendment introduced by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), now a member of leadership, split the Health Education Labor & Pensions Committee 10-10. The tie meant that the measure failed.
    All ten no votes were Republicans, including Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), a member of the "Gang of Six" on the Finance Committee who are hashing out a bipartisan bill.

    November 17, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  3. walleye

    After Al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 Americans, on Sept 11, we went to war and spent hundreds of billions of dollars ensuring that this would not happen again. Yet every two months, that many people die because of our failure to provide universal insurance — and yet many members of the GOP want us to do nothing

    November 17, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  4. George

    CNN did you get this survey from the insurance industry? Don't tell me they are sending you huge checks too?

    November 17, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  5. Obama = WORST president EVER

    Except for the part which says "nothing" changed related to acceptance of the President OR the Congress, I agree.

    We DO hate this President and HOPE he fails and Pelosi and her cohorts Fail.... don't worry about the country... we will do better and recover after the failure

    November 17, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. Caesar the Great

    Our government has already admitted to paying $47 Billion in fraud Medicare claims. Why dont they focus on fixing that first before thinking they can create another system that wont have this exact same problem.

    November 17, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. Roy M

    Obama, Pelosi, Ried are an absolute disaster. They must have been neglected as children and are looking for some attention. Thier plan will send America into a downward spiral that will difficult to recover from. They strive for mediocrity and will not even be able to achieve that. COME ON 2012.....

    November 17, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. T'SAH from Virginia

    CNN is SPLIT!!! on how to take polls.

    EVERY poll CNN conducts have BAD news and GOOD news. If this is the case, then they are wording the polls in a way where ALL of the results will be SPLIT!!!! Jeez!!

    November 17, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  9. Blutarski

    No kidding, opposition to the Bill is not just coming from the right. As much as the liberal media has tried to spin all opposition to this Bill as just a few right wing nuts, the fact remains that moderate Democrats and Independents are also against some of what is in this Bill. Many people are against just some of the Bill, not all of it, but the Democrat Leadership will not budge (much). Now the Senate Dem Leadership wants to remove all compromises which allowed the Bill to pass the House in the first place.

    November 17, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  10. Poopoma

    Amazing all you people who want Obama healthcare are so uneducated to realized this will Kill America, READ THE BILL!!! Stop basing your opinion on CNN, NBC, ABC and all the other news people that have reverted to printing lies and misinformation or not the whole information to make a profit. How about that!!! How about the media is also out there to make profits not just Insurance Companies. Don't forget about the Unions, they make huge profit by bulling. SMARTEN UP AMERICA AND GO TO THE LIBRARY AND READ SOME HISTORY BOOKS.

    November 17, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  11. bigbear

    is a 2000 page bill that pelosi wants , that is full of a bunch of crap going to solve health care

    November 17, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. shmeckel

    Everybody wants reform. Just not this junk. It is pretty bad if 43% of the population believe the government can replace a private company and reduce the cost. Government provided healthcare costs twice as much when compared to nongovernment healthcare costs according to the W.H.O. website. The government pays about half (46%) the bills and only covers a third of the people; while private money pays about half (54%) and covers two thirds of the population.

    Somehow everyone thinks they are going to get something for nothing. It will be interesting to see what happens when the people that cannot afford insurance now get fined for not buying it when the government is selling it. Remember the CBO’s budget neutral conclusion was based on having 168 billion dollars in fines.

    November 17, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. Paylin

    ...Split between the ignorant & the informed. Let's make this clear CNN

    We pay for %100 of the Senate's healthcare, why not for the rest of us ..?

    November 17, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. terry,va

    The 46% that are in favor of it the current health care bill,if that number is that high, are the people that don't pay taxes anyway. When Obummie gives the illegal aliens citizenship next year, we will be a true welfare state. Health care rationing has already started with the bogus study on mammography being delayed from age 40 to 50 year old women. I guarantee that the public option if there is one, will not cover mammography until age 50. The private insurance companies will follow and benefit cuts and rationing is in effect. You people better wake up!!!!!!

    November 17, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  15. dieselbug

    Depends how you ask the question. I am completely supportive of healthcare reform, but I don't like the legislation currently being considered. The Stup(id?)ak amendment is an insult to all women, and the Public Option needs to be stronger, not weaker.
    If they asked me the question, I would say No to the current legislation, but I absolutely believe that Health Care Reform is imeprative.

    November 17, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  16. Blutarski

    You really want the same government stooges who gave 15 million stimulous checks out, and now say "oops, we made a mistake, give it back", to run health care? I like how they gave millions of dollars to congressional districts that don't exist. Hows that hope and change treating you?

    November 17, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  17. PJ

    Bottom Line. This health-care reform is intended to cut medical costs and save money. Nearly every study that has come out says it will RAISE health care costs. Why are we going through all of this goat-roping if the bill will not even work? I'll tell you why....because the Democrats said they would pass something. They are hell-bent and determined to pass anything regardless if it costs a trillion dollars and regardless if it will work or not. They just want "I VOTED FOR HEALTH CARE REFORM" on their report cards come re-election time.

    November 17, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  18. db

    Let's see. Too liberal and not liberal enough? Sounds like the problem Obama has had with everything he's touched so far: trying to play both ends against the middle. Worked like gangbusters during the campaign, but in the real world you gotta take a position.

    November 17, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  19. Waiting for 2010

    What a bunch of really think the government can take over health care and provide you with quality care? They can't even run the H1N1 vaccine program......there still isn't enough vaccine for everyone. This is nothing compared to the disaster ahead if this bill passes. We all agree there should reform, but not this. Everyone should be responsible for purchasing their own coverage. It isn't up to me to go to work to pay for you. Time to take care of you and your own and live with the choices you make.

    November 17, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  20. terry,va

    Let's go to a one payer system and put all the insurance businesses out of business. Unemployment can then be 13-15% instead of the 10.2% we have now. Mission accomplished for Obummie and his followers. They will have more people dependent and therefore more votes. Obummie knows when he gives 10-12 illegal aliens citizenship next year, he will pick up 80-90% of those votes. America is fast being a socialist/welfare state.

    November 17, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  21. Proud to be a Liberal American

    Meanwhile in the real world... How many Americans are uninsured? How many Americans–including American children–go to bed hungry?

    Not that this matters to Republicans, who make profits off of the sufferings of others.

    November 17, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  22. Lia, denver

    I can not believe the people opposing heath care reform are so insensitive, selfish and un-compassionate... 40 millions of Americans DON"T have heath insurance. Why opposing reform? I come from Europe where everybody has health insurance – from the advanced countries to the former communist block ones. Why not trying to look at other democracies and LEARN from them? Nobody in the world makes such big profits from sickness. NOBODY in the world has such a high level of privatization in health care.... It's immoral, can't you see it?

    November 17, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  23. Mitchel

    The quicker it passes, the quicker people just what it's like living in a country where you *aren't* scared to be sick, the quick Democratic Majorities are shored up in the House and Senate, the quicker Republicans realize they are completely out of touch with the American People, the quicker *maybe*, just maybe a Republican like Richard Nixon (moderate, *REALIST*) comes along and shows them "a path out of the wilderness". Baring these things, Democrats and Republicans will continue to fight over the most stupid of things and Americans will continue to suffer.

    November 17, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  24. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    I don't claim to be an expert on the American healthcare system but I do know this: When your car gets a flat tire, you don't get rid of the
    car–which is basically what the democrats want to do. And why is it you never hear the democrats mention TORT REFORM when our legal system and the ambulance-chasing lawyers that feed off of it are the main reason healthcare cost to much in this country? (Just in case you haven't figured this one out, it's because those ambulance-chasing lawyers are one of the democrats most generous and reliable contributors.) The democrats are more interested in grabbing more power and funneling money to their lawyer contributors than they are in actually making healthcare more accessible and inexpensive for the American people.

    November 17, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. phoenix86

    Federal funding of abortion, end-of-life counseling, reduced care for seniors, increased taxes, reduced quality of care, limits on exams and procedures, government decions on patient qualifications, etc.

    What's not to like? It's every 3rd World Technocrat's dream.

    November 17, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
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