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. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    There is other options... vote third party where ever you can. And never vote for an incumbant. No matter what party they belong to.

    Libertarians are the closest thing to the centralist policies that this nation desperately needs right now.
    Google us sometime give the party platform a read through, you will see we are the 3rd largest party in the USA and getting very popular.

    March 30, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  2. Dean

    The other 45% have left the Party

    March 30, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. katiec

    How anyone can support any republican politician due to their dishonorable, irresponsible, hypocritical actions this last year is
    beyond me.
    They have lost all credibility and sight of what they were elected to do.

    March 30, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  4. rickster

    i say no to the party of hell no.

    March 30, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  5. Obama Victim

    there are a lot of Dems who should not re-new that lease in D C

    March 30, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. John

    Democrats are in trouble this November..... FACT!!

    March 30, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  7. B Lewis

    A poll of 1,009 people is sufficient to represent all Americans? What a joke – statistical analysis – give me a break.

    March 30, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  8. sharon

    AS time goes by and the GOP stays hostile and says and does, and causes hateful actions by their speaking, many more people will move away
    from the hate.

    It is a long time until votes are cast.

    March 30, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. Enough

    Vote to Repeal and Replace this disasterous bill the Democrats shoved down our throats..................yes, we are motivated to kick their sorry behinds to the curb, by going against the will of the people.

    March 30, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  10. frank in valparaiso indiana

    The people out here complaining are a bunch of rude, ignorant hicks. But, that's what you get in Indiana. Wonder what kind of work they do to protest all the time during the week.

    They have no clue how insurance works, how we are getting skrewed by the insurance companies with their rate increases and profits. And how our pro business governor is letting them get away with it.

    They hate government but have more local bloat and waste than you can imagine.

    March 30, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  11. Ken in NC

    I thought the reason for voting in November was because that was the time set aside for the people to choose the leaders they wanted to represent them. I never knew that Health Care was the reason for voting.


    March 30, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. ron

    Didn't the same CNN poll "surprisingly" show that the majority of Americans DIS-approve of the bill? I Know that the honest reporting of the CNN Ticker would never leave out information like that, so I guess I'm just crazy.

    March 30, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  13. Dan

    Why doesn't everybody just take a break ? I'm so sick of politics , I could vomit. Everybody go take a walk if you're able. If not, watch a good comedy on TV. Go read the paper. Pet your dog or cat. Live free again. It works for me. Stop hating and start loving the world we live in.

    March 30, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  14. forty

    Let them have their way. No mandate for them to buy health care. But if they get sick, they cannot get care in any facility in the country. No more walking into emergency rooms with no insurance and putting it on my tab... No health care for them at all. Ever! Shut this bunch of idiots up once and for all! Don't they understand we are taking the hit on this with premiums everyday. If you don't have insurance, and you don't care, then I guess it's ok to walk into a hospital, and we will get the tab anyway... As long as the right wing talk show people are running the GOP, and FOX news, these inbred retards are going to take their inbred families to events just like the tea bag parties.

    March 30, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  15. Brain

    Watch carefully folks. The healthcare bill imposes price controls on the insurance industry that will drive them to bankruptcy because there are no compensating cost controls. The only way health insurance will be affordable will be through the rate limiting authorities that Gov't granted itself. Many supporters will say "good riddance" to the insurance industry but the hammer will fall even harder on it when Dodd's financial reforms allow the Gov't to declare the health insurers "too big to fail". Then the Gov't get's their public option, and we have a Medicare/Medicaid/Obamacare hybrid that is soley government run and taxpayer funded. What we should be concerned about is that the Gov't is "too big to fail" and this boondoggle is leading us straight down that path because rather than solving the health care problems in this country the Dems have only solved the why-doesn't-the-government-have-total-control-of-health-care-problem. Gov't should be providing solutions for those without insurance for reasons not of their own choosing and leave the rest of us alone.

    March 30, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  16. curtis

    This health care bill will be a death blow to the economy. It sounds like a good idea but it's not financially sustainable. The 85% that had health insurance will be the big losers.

    March 30, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  17. Party of Five!

    I can tell you I'm motivated.... The health care bill that was signed into law may not be all we wanted, but it's a start. Republicans were no help whatsoever. All they did was create fear and confusion. I'm so sick of them being part of the problem and not part of the solution. I will be voting for democrats in June and November. Thank you Republicans for making it easy! It amazes me that we can pay for unnecessary wars, but when it comes to helping our own we have an issue. Puleeese. People think! I refuse to believe that everyone in need of health care is lazy and not working. People who post that kind of retoric are ignorant, selfish, and have no regard for human suffering unless its their own.. Have a nice day! Oh and by the way, I have a job and health care.

    March 30, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |

    I hope Nancy Pelosi continues to be Nancy Pelosi. This obnoxious,
    imperialist woman is the best motivator the Republicans have to
    come out and vote. Keep it up, Nancy. You are the best excuse the
    voters have to vote for the GOP. All those you've labelled "un-American"
    for criticizing Obamacare salute you.

    March 30, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  19. badger

    By November the People will realize that health care will benefit them and all the Republican's have been blowing smoke. Remember a liar can never tell the truth, they believe if you tell it long enough it becomes the truth. The Queen extremist from the right is a good example of this, with her lock and load message.

    March 30, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  20. Mr. Nelson, Colorado Springs

    The Health Care Bill passed without one Republican vote but it seem that some Republican senator like Cornyn, said that it's critical that we remind people of the fact that it was Republicans who fought to force insurance companies to compete with one another over state lines for Americans' business," Cornyn said "It was Republicans who fought to reform the junk lawsuits that raise medical costs and lower quality by forcing doctors to practice 'medicine.' It was Republicans who fought for policies that protected Americans with preexisting conditions and it was Republicans who proposed health care reforms that didn't cut Medicare by $500 billion and raise Americans' taxes by $400 million." If they did all of this why didn't they vote to pass the Health Care Bill, NOT ONE VOTE. Go President Obama

    March 30, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  21. Terence

    When are people going to understand that, whether we have a Health Care bill\Law or not that tax payers are going to foot the medical bill anyway. Every time an uninsured person goes into the emergency room and cannot pay the bill or has not health care insurance, it is the tax payer who pays. And what is so interesting about this debate is that the Tea Partiers and those who are so much against the new law are the very some people who are paying for those in Congress health care with their tax dollars.

    Do you realize that we are spending 600 Billion, yes Billion year in Iraq!!! But the funny thing is you don't see any Tea Party movement against that do you!! And how can you claim a country that your ancestors took away from the people that was already here? Please tell me.....that's why I am an Independent!! Don't care for the Red (Blood) Replications nor the Blue (Crips) Democrats.

    March 30, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  22. Doles

    Whew! Gosh, could it be that people are tired of polls? I think even the first responders are exhausted. These polls are becoming a nuisance, if you ask me.

    March 30, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  23. Big John

    It's clear the "tea baggers" are motivated toward violence with hate spurred on by the likes of Sarah the Quitter. I think the intelligent Americans will vote those who don't condemn violence out of office. Their tactics age backfiring.

    March 30, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. Leonore Dvorkin

    A new Washington Post poll found that among registered voters, 76% of Democrats are enthusiastic about voting in the fall, and 75% of Republicans are enthusiastic about voting. - Leonore Dvorkin, Denver, CO

    March 30, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  25. Goodman Fredrick

    You don't base policy on polls! November is like light years away in politics and nobody knows for sure the compaign message of each part will be! Put your time on other things.

    March 30, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
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