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. diridi

    i am going to support pres. obama for passing health care is good for the nation....we also need to pass the stricter immigration now....cut all the immigration...esply india...cheating guys...we do not need doctors, nor computer guys...ok, we can train our people from USA...

    March 30, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  2. SpringGambit

    Funraising must also be taken into consideration. What CNN hasn't covered in the Michael Steele debacle is that under the leadership of Steele, million of dollars collected during the past many months have ALREADY been spent, leaving the RNC with very little to work with. The division Palin is causing within the republican party is also dividing fundraising disbursements within the GOP.

    WIth Tea Baggers busy fundraising for THEIR cause, i.e. Palin, and the candidates THEY support, less is being given to the RNC.

    The GOPers underestimated Palin. She never was a true republican. Her speeches, her endorsement of the Sessionalist Party in Alaska, her near-fanatic religious beliefs, and her complete disinterest in government all highlighted just how far removed from mainstream America, and government, she truly is.

    She isn't going to go away anytime soon, GOPers. But neither is she going to be supporting the GOP cause 100%. In her recent McCain endorsement and retreat-reload talk, she is showing just how defiant she can be. She wants it to be HER way this time around, not the GOP way, and by golly she is going to do what she can to get whatever it is she wants.

    A party divided cannot win. Right now the GOP is more divided than it has been in decades. Without leadership, well, you get the picture . . .

    March 30, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  3. Peter

    If i were the Republican leadership, id be very scared of November coming...because as more and more Ameicans are reading and understanding snippets of this new health bill independents are ripping the Republicans for not at least sitting down to really help this president and them trying to take credit for parts of a bill they almost helps kill is demoralizing the right wing (Dems and more independents are liking this bill) and whats more? Dems are fired up! This November will see the Republicans in worse shape after the hell they put this country through for 8 yrs under bush! Republicans there will be a beating at the polls come November!

    March 30, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  4. Preston kathy

    When the young voters see what obama have done to help his country the young voters will see how the gop will mess up there mines

    March 30, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. KLS

    As a Republican I’m so ashamed of my party’s refusal to support health care reform and the angry mob mentality Sarah Palin promoting that I’m going to support my local Democrat in the upcoming November election.
    Pure hate, harassment, discrimination and violence are not how our democracy works.

    March 30, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. Len (Colorado)

    I support President Obama. He cares about all Americans not just the upper 2% who recieved tax breaks under President Bush. Our deficeit was caused by the last administration. ($2 trillion dollars in lost tax revenue from the Bush tax cuts that benefitted the upper 2%). I could talk about more but I will get to my point.

    The "Loud Minority" has spoken and will continue to be loud and tell untruths.

    But the "Silent Majority" will vote for Dems. in 2010 and re-elect President Obama in 2012.

    March 30, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  7. ray

    watch out colour people, the racists right are showing there through colours now. these people are so angry that a blackman is president that its like a curse to them. watch out immigrants, both legal and illegal, the racists right are about to kill you.

    March 30, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  8. forget bipartisanship

    nice try cnn. 2010 is going to be ugly for your beloved democrat party.

    March 30, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. IM

    I guess RNC campaings againts health care in night clubs. Wait, he was meeting with small business owner because what else can he possibly do in a night club, pray for repeal and replace during so-called private meetings with young republicans?

    March 30, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  10. gina doran

    If American's really wont to stop this socialism of American the one way that we can stop it is to have 36 states come together under a constitutional convention that will be limited to stopping the health care tax and spend bill. That only the socialist democratic party passed like a monarchy. The attorney general in South Carolina is attempting to get the 36 states to meet under a constitutional convention to do just that call you state Representatives and Governor's and let them know you wont them involved in this real true American history taking back of America and her Freedoms from a federal government gone amuck !
    Also if we could get them to also pass a constitutional amendment to allow our states to enforce immigration law's and remove all illegal aliens and require out federal government to seal, protect and defend our own borders. and also no illegal alien can vote in any election that needs to be included also. on immigration i hope the great state of Arizona does protect and defend it's citizen since our government is only worried about illegal voters. go Arizona go!!!!!

    March 30, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  11. Bob in Pa.

    Because it was a bad bill. No one wants it and after those who are currently blissful find out what it actually does yo them they will be ready for real change too.

    March 30, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  12. ToughLove

    Come on CNN Moderator! You've blocked my last 6 about a little Fariness and Balance!...
    What most liberals do not realize is that America is still a Conservative country...because we believe in God, personal responsibility and the right to defend ourselves (guns and military). We were disillusioned in Bush...not because he was a conservative, but because HE DID NOT ACT LIKE ONE. That's why Obama won. But that's also why we're motivated now to take back our country. We will not allow our country to change into something unAmerican. I only hope that Obama doesn't ruin us by 2012.
    Now...someone go ahead and call me a racist.

    March 30, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  13. "Tea Party Texan"


    March 30, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. Marcus Tate

    By the way – there's still going to be a Supreme Court challenge, as just about every state in the union is mounting a lawsuit to challenge this bill.
    Where does Congress have any legal right or basis to require that all Americans buy a free market product or service, or else face fines or imprisonment? That is like saying everyone in the US has to buy a Ford this year. No different – and that is both illegal and unconstitutional.

    March 30, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  15. Donna from Colorado Springs

    If the Republican party campaigns on Healthcare reform this fall, they will be in for a big surprise! Once people realize what the TRUTH IS AND DON'T BELIEVE THE LIES THAT THE REPUBLICANS HAVE SPREAD, they will see savings on healthcare and realize that passing it doesn't mean the end of the world!

    March 30, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  16. Dave

    Yep, motivated to vote out all those that favored it.

    March 30, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  17. Ric

    Let me say that gloria is wrong. Passage of this bill shows the democrats arragance and there unwilling to listen to us, the people.
    What is important is jobs, the economy stupid, and the deficit. I expessed my concerns to Rep. Brian Baird who is my congressman and his reply to me was that health care was more important than the other three. I told him that I lost my job and he said he was sorry. The democrats don't get it and the newsmedia is sleeping now. We the people in washington state have made it clear to Rep. Baird last fall that we would vote him out of office if he voted for health care. Now he is not re-running for election. We are mad, the independant voters.

    March 30, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  18. Texas Doc

    Wahhhhhhhhhh! Get over it. It passed and everyone benefits. Way to go Democrats. Shame on you Republicans. Why do you hate America so much?

    March 30, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  19. Torch

    We're gonna throw the Dems out on the street. Repeal this insane, so called Health care bill. Then we are going tell Americans that don't have healthcare, but have plasma TV's and fancy cellphones that your health is YOUR reponsibility and the American taxpayer cannot, will not support those who refuse to take care of themselves.

    ohh btw....The Clinton surplus, fools, Clinton can't spend money, that surplus was there by the Republican Congress......get the facts fools!

    Dems are Marxist traitors and operate as the Mafia disguised as a politcal party. They cannot be trusted with anything, see how they screw you with healthcare.


    March 30, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  20. A.B.

    Opponents of President Obama's Healthcare Reform Initiative need to chill out, take the time to read and understand the legislation and what it will do for them as well for the majority of Americans. All of the yelling, screaming and histerics will do nothing for them or anyone else. They must understand that Healthcare Reform is on solid constitutional ground and is here to stay. Furthermore, They must also understand that Federal Law preempts state and local law and that we are a nation of laws that we are obliged to obey in the interest of fostering the general welfare of all Americans and the nation.

    March 30, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  21. joec

    If this bill is so good how come Obama, Congress, and the Senate are exempt from it? Anyone who truly believes in the US Constitution may want to refresh their memories by reading the 28th ammendment. This bill is undoubtly UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

    March 30, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  22. jess

    spin it CNN. you all are doing a great job reporting journalism in America.

    March 30, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  23. jojomcgee

    We will not allow ourselves to be stupaked again.

    March 30, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  24. RN

    Republicans need to remember that they lost the last election. They behave as though they are the only ones entitled to rule and they need to "take the country back". From who? I am a citizen. I have worked since I was 13 years old and I have never taken welfare. I have never taken unemployment. I have paid taxes. I have put up with years of republicans leading us into wars. I have been told that I am a traitor because I questioned going to war. I have been told to go to Russia if I didn't like it here (ie. didn't like going to war). I have been denied health care by insurance companies because "someone made a mistake". I have been turned away by banks and told that it was too bad if my loan was denied or a bank "accidentally" misplaced my account (money!) and bounced my rent check so I have an eviction notice on my door.
    Now, I read about angry mobs who are vocal about not liking the health care reform. Now, who could not like fixing a system that has been broken for years? Will I benefit from this? Maybe, I do not know. But, as I read the angry posts here and I hear what these mobs are saying there is little sign that anyone has read the health care bill. People are still saying there are death panels set up to decide how much care you get. No. That is what we had when insurance companies put caps on how much life time coverage you get while denying coverage for life-saving treatments.
    Where is the rage against the republicans who took us to war? who ran up our debt beyond imagination? who let companies ship jobs to china and run loose and ruin our economy?
    Do not pretend that you are a majority in this country. I am angry too. I am angry that a bunch of under educated, greedy thugs are acting as though this country has been invaded and taken over by another country and that we need to "take our country back". You need to learn to share power. You need to learn to work together. You are a bunch of spoiled nasty children who need to learn to play with others.
    You may be an angry mob – but you are in serious need of adult supervision.

    March 30, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. T'SAH from Virginia

    Come on CNN – the "ANGRY MOB" is not the majority!!

    Never mind, it is all about the ANGRY MOB on the outside but EVERYONE is in for a "RUDE AWAKENING" from the "INSIDE"!!!

    Again – each day the number of people polled is 1009-- it's most likely the SAME people. I did not bother to comment on the poll taken earlier where it FAVORED the Democrats because again – it's the SAME 1009 American Adults that is ‘swayed’ by however you want the poll to go!!! Case and POINT!!

    March 30, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
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