March 30th, 2010
04:45 PM ET
12 years ago

CNN Poll: Health care passage motivates voters

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Passage of the recent health care reform bill has motivated voters on both sides, according to a new CNN poll."]Washington (CNN) - It seems the passage of health care reforms into law has united the country in one way: It's sparked enthusiasm by both Democrats and Republicans to vote in this year's midterm elections, according to a new national poll.

But a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey also indicates that the passage of health care reform has not changed the political landscape in the battle for Congress. The poll's Tuesday release comes as President Obama signed into law a companion bill of "fixes" to the main health care legislation that he signed last week.

Full results (PDF)

Fifty-five percent of Republicans questioned in the survey say they are now extremely or very enthusiastic about voting this November, up six points from January. Democrats are also up five points from January, with 36 percent of those questioned saying they are extremely or very enthusiastic about casting ballots in the midterms.

"The health care vote seems to have made some Democrats more eager to vote in November, but it has also activated more Republican voters, so the Democrats still face the same double-digit 'enthusiasm gap' they had before the vote," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

But the survey also indicates that the passage into law of health care reform has not altered the battle for Congress.

According to the poll, the Republicans held a 48 percent to 45 percent advantage on the "generic ballot" question before the vote in the U.S. House on March 21 and they have virtually the same edge, 49 percent to 45 percent, a week later.

"Any gains that the Democrats may have made among women, white collar families or urban and suburban voters were essentially offset by losses among men, blue collar families and rural voters," says Holland.

Fifty-three percent of independent voters questioned say they would back the Republican candidate with 35 percent saying they would support the Democrat in the race.

But the poll also indicates that a sizable amount of respondents say their votes are not set in stone.

"Nearly 4 in ten registered voters said that they could change their minds, so handle these poll results with care - they are not, and cannot be, a prediction of what will happen in November," adds Holland.

The generic ballot question asks respondents if they would vote for a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district, without naming any specific candidates. The Democrats currently hold a 253-177 advantage in the House, with four seats that the Democrats once held vacant and one seat that the GOP held vacant. Republicans need to win 40 seats to take back control of the chamber.

Besides a surge in enthusiasm to vote in the midterm elections, the poll also indicates another change: The approval rating for the Democratic leaders in Congress has risen at a higher rate than the GOP's approval rating - restoring an advantage that the Democrats had through most of 2009. Forty-two percent now approve of how Democratic leaders in Congress are handling their jobs, up nine points from a week ago, with 36 percent saying they give Republican congressional leaders a thumbs up, a gain of four points over the past week.

"But both parties' approval ratings are still well below 50 percent, with little indication that a bump in approval ratings will translate into electoral strength in the fall," says Holland.

When it comes to the vicious political battle over health care, Republicans have been targeting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The poll suggests their strategy may be paying off. Fifty-four percent of those questioned disapprove of how she's handling her job, up six points from last May. Forty-three percent of those questioned approve of how she's handing her job.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted March 25-28, with 1,009 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: 2010 • CNN poll • Health care • Popular Posts
soundoff (231 Responses)
  1. LacrosseMom


    Once Americans find out that the Healthcare Bill's passage will benefit them or their loved ones.

    Once Americans figure out that their taxes will not go up, ONLY the taxes of the wealthiest ...1%..... who benefitted from the Bush tax cuts which will end soon. We will all be okay.

    AND...... we, Americans, are already APPROVING of the Healthcare Bill's passage! Proof is in that the MAJORITY of Americans APPROVE!

    The GOP strategy of hate, lies, fear and division fails once again!

    March 30, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. Helen

    This is a shame that people are willing to say that a Health Care Bill required them to vote. If the Republican Party need people to vote against the Health Care Bill, then those people are as stupid, crazy or insane. People a vote to a Senator who wants the Banks, Doctors and Insurance Companies to make more money that you can afford to pay for service is absolutely crazy and I am very sorry for the poor soul who don't think Health Care should be given or extended to those who can't afford to have Health Care. Maybe these people should go live in another country where the Leader don't give a dm about the people.

    March 30, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. stormerF

    Just wait till these large corporations start laying off workers to pay for thses mandates imposed by the government. Then the shinola will hit the fan.

    March 30, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |

    People are very satisfied with the passage of healthcare reform. Just because you didn't see democrat rallies doesn't mean we didn't support the legislation. Quite frankly, we think the bill doesn't go far enough. But we'll take something over nothing. The republiklans will feel the wrath of the voters in November.

    DEATH OF THE GOP 11/10

    March 30, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I hope it has motivated the Democratic base to go out there and cast their votes not just in 2012 but also in 2010.

    In the past 15 months we have seen the RethugliKKKlans not care AT ALL about our country. I have voted Republican in the past, and I just cannot recognize who today's RehtugliKKKlans are. Without even a smidgeon of conscience they have presented a COMPLETE unified front to block ANY legislation that would've helped people recover fromthe suffering that THEY BROUGHT ABOUT.

    They should not be rewarded at the polls with our voting apathy. We cannot wait for 2012 to come out and re-elect Obama. We have to get out there and make sure that he gets the support he needs in congress to continue doing for MIDDLE AMERICA as he has been.


    March 30, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. Americans for common sense

    While reviewing the post on here yesterday , I couldn't but help to notice that some have the crazy idea that we are all against HCR , then you have some that think democrats will be pushed out of office come mid-term elections .What I do know is that republicans are gonna be very surprised that they may make little or no-gains in the house or senate ,as of right now republicans don't have two legs to stand on , so I hope that they keep that theme of repealing HCR , because they are gonna be in foor a rude awakening......

    March 30, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. Dan

    The independents who before craved for 'change of direction and the way politics is done" and not wished so much experiments and risk taking with our economy, jobs, social system, and our safety and the safety of the free world (while maintaining "politics as usual"), are also energized to stop this experiment and having a more responsible and responsive government. Ideological governments in total control (be it right or left) do not suit this country!

    March 30, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. Steve

    I can't wait till November! Bye-bye socialists!

    March 30, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The RepubliKKKlans are COUNTING on the typical American voter's version of AMNESIA.

    PLEASE DO NOT FORGET who was LYING and who was TRYING
    (thanks for the phrase Lacrosse mom!).

    Do not reward RethugliKKKans at the polls!!!

    March 30, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. FL Voter

    Many Americans are
    motivated to build upon our health-care bill going forward with positive additions and to ensure the disingenuous GOP stays out of majority with their "repeal and replace" lie, which is meant to pander to a base who does not understand the numbers for congressional override.

    March 30, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. Obama Victim

    will the dead be voting in Obama's Chicago again this year??

    March 30, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  12. GET A JOB

    While the Tea Partiers were protesting all during the week, us average Americans were at work. Now that the bill is law, us working Americans are voicing our enthusiasm. I double dare the GOP to run on a platform of repeal and replace. First of all, it's just impossible. Secondly, the President will veto any attempt to do so. So there you have it.

    DEATH OF THE GOP 11/10

    March 30, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  13. Bertina

    It's so obvious. Unless your disctrict has lots of independents, more than likely, its going to go the way it usually goes every year. Since health care passed unlike in 2003, this all may be hype.

    March 30, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  14. AndyBlue

    Dont you love how these teabagging nutjobs claim they speak for all Americans. Look at that picture. Since Obama won and is now president wouldnt these nutjobs be the minority?

    They are mostly made up of the ignorant freightened Fox news screamers. Fox has the most viewers claiming they get 1.5 Million viewers a day.

    Luckily 299 MILLION Americans do Not watch Fox news daily.

    : )

    March 30, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  15. The Unsub

    Support for this Administration has only gotten stronger.

    March 30, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  16. Rickster

    People are finally, finally waking up to the disaster that is democrat policies. Astoundingly, however, the majority of democrats think that socialism is a good thing so there is alot of work to do and the enemy is within our own border. The founding fathers would be absolutely horrified at what this nation has become thanks to the democrats. That party has become a party of dependent, whining, do-nothings just waiting for the government to hand them their next entitlement.

    March 30, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. Capt. Snarky

    All three of my state's legislators voted for the health care bill – I will be voting against all three for the first time this year.

    March 30, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  18. Brian

    Come on people, just because we did not get everything we wanted in the Health Care Reform bill are we really going to sit on the sideline and allow the Repbulicans to take over?

    I know you want to make a point, but is hurting yourself the point you want to make, because as we experienced from the 8 years under Bush, he basically dismantled the Middle-Class single handedly, drove us into financial ruin, lied, outed a CIA agent, etc.

    So let me ask you again are we really going to sit on the sidelines?

    With Republicans in charge not only would not have gotten any of the things you wanted in health care reform, there either would not be health care reform or it would have been reformed at the advantage of Corporate America and the large industries that profit from it.

    So please Independents and Democrats alike, think about this seriously and don't allow your emotions to make a huge mistake by sitting this one out and allowing Republicans who care nothing about the little guy to regain power.

    March 30, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  19. Tori in Texas

    Yep, can't wait til the Repubs to try to motivate potential voters after they've had a taste of affordable healthcare. "Vote for us, just give up your new affordable healthcare plan in favor of going back on the road to bankruptcy from medical bills"! Yea, that should go over well. Children with pre-existing conditions can be added to their parents existing policies now. How many votes do you think the Just Say No crowd will get from them? I can't wait for November – pass the popcorn, please!

    March 30, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  20. John in WV

    If I were a republican, it would motivate me to vote those out of office that have chose to do nothing but cry because they can't have their way. It would motivate me to vote the McCains and McConnells out and replace them with lawmakers that put the interests of the American people first and do not make destroying our current president top priority. As a democrat, I am more motivated to vote because I see democratic lawmakers refusing to be intimidated and bullied by the same people the repubs should vote out. I am more motivated to vote because once again, I can tell my doctor that I can afford the insurance that allows me to get the necessary treatment that I have done without since losing my job to disability.

    March 30, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  21. Pete East

    I expect that voter turnout will be exceptional for a mid-term election. And it should be.

    March 30, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  22. a health economist

    I have read several comments today that compels me to do a little abstract thinking for some of you.

    Yes, the passage of this bill could lead employers, primarily large companies, to drop health care coverage as a benefit. However, there will be plenty of companies that will keep employer based coverage. Those that drop coverage still have to compete against these companies. The only way they will be able to do this is by raising wages. If they don't, they will sing their death warrant.

    On top of that, they will be paying the fine which will increase government tax revenue helping to pay for the bill. Increased wages also means increased taxes (yes, boo taxes).

    Additionally the health insurance co-ops will help allow for new insurers to enter the market place (probably large health care systems). The administrative costs will be much lower than typical insurers (all possible because of outlawing the denial of people with preexisting conditions). The risk adjustment rates will help cover those with extremely high costs.

    Is this all going to be a cake walk? Of course not.

    Is this going to be the end of the world? See above.

    March 30, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  23. Dano

    Once the American people see what the health care reform bill really contains, they will realize how they were lied to by the GOP and the tea-baggers. They will see that there are no "death panels" or "government takeover" of health care, just some much needed protections for consumers. Then they will take retribution on the liars, haters, and fear-mongers in the November mid-term elections. Buh-bye Repubs...Buh-bye!

    March 30, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  24. Stacie

    If all you haters wanted a different kind of health care reform, you should have done it when you were in power. You didn't act so Pres. Obama did. Now live with it. We're moving forward with or without you. We love this country too much to allow a bunch of political obstructionists and faux news talk show hosts to ruin this great nation. God Bless America!

    March 30, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  25. Dad of a Diabetic

    Knowing the Republicans want to make children with cancer or type 1 diabetes uninsurable for the rest of their lives again motivates me and my extended family. I will vote to make sure a little girl or boy with diabetes, cancer, or some other deadly disease does not become uninsurable for the rest of their lives, like they were under Bush.

    March 30, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
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