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. Beverly - NYC

    To any of the fiscally reponsible Republican, tea party attending wing nuts who are so opposed to government programs, I would be willing to listen to your big government rhetoric if you are williing to put your money where your mouth is ,and do the following:

    1. Forego your monthly Social Security checks, especially if you've never worked a day in your life, and are living off spousal benefits. Since I am on the wrong end of the baby boomer generation Social Security will be bankrupt before I see a dime of the money I see going out of my pay checks.

    2. Give up medicare, and purchase your own high priced private insurance. I'll pray for you when the insurance company denies that 2nd by pass.

    Show of hands, anyone williang to do this? Not even John Mr. 8 homes McCain turns down his Social Security check. I was amazed when he released his tax return in 08. Each party should clean their own house before preaching to the public.

    March 30, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I'll tell you something else that this healthcare vote is doing for those that voted Obama in: it has proven to us that we elected the right president. Someone who is able and willing to withstand everything the opposition throws at him (darn near the kitchen sink!) and then goes right in and FIGHTS FOR US by doing what is RIGHT!

    This whole healthcare vote was like a David and Goliath story. Big business and corrupt politicians (on both sides of the aisle) against Americans and our President. Right struck down might!

    Obama supporters are coming out of the woodwork in support of our President. We're drowning out the fear and smear of the GOP because we've had it with it, and because Obama has shown that he can get in there and fight, fight, fight with the best of them for US!!!!!!!!

    Yes we Can! Yes we DID! Yes we Will!!!!

    March 30, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  3. indypendent

    I'm sure the Republicans are motivated more to get out the vote. They know that when this health care reform helps the average American and the economy starts to rebound, their Golden Goose will not see the inside of the White House for many, many years.

    March 30, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  4. Butch

    My bet is it'll be a GOP landslide in November! Nobody likes the Health Care bill, or the way it was handled.

    March 30, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  5. Jerry - Florida

    Are my fellow Democratic voters dumb, stupid or what? Are they unable to gage the damage that President NObama and his gang in Washington (so called administration) are doing to our once great country.

    The fact is that health care reform as enacted, is a farce perpetrated by President NObama, Boblehead Pelosi, Senile Reed and the rest of the elected Democratic morons. Unfortunately, these moronic hypocrites include our own faceless/traitor, Catty Castor.

    Democratic voters, please wake up before it's too late!!!

    Now, during the two-week break, President NObama just inherited a new official title: Sneaky-in-Chief. This title is besides: Bully-in-Chief and Liar-in-Chief. Expect him to inherit other official titles as he continues wreck our country.

    Again, America, IT'S NOT TOO LATE!

    March 30, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  6. greg morris

    this Progressive is Fired UP and Ready To Go!

    Kendrick Meek for Senator!

    March 30, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  7. Tim

    Hitting the streets already!!! We plan to register many new people as possible!!!

    Dems 2010!!!

    Obama/Powell 2012!!

    March 30, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. britto-fl

    They're the same raciast radicals yelling kill him, that one, he's a not one of us...lets take our country back.,,reload, hell no....etc... Plus they keep changing what they stand for, unless nitwitt SarahPalin feds them with her soundbite twitts.

    March 30, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. rita

    Don't be fooled into thinking that deadbeat, tuned out, uninformed and idle Americans will step away from "Dancing with the Stars" to cast a vote in a midterm election. Independents are voters without political savvy or backbones. They flow with the wind and vote whoever is in office, out of office. They have no political philosophies and no food for thought.

    March 30, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  10. cjr

    No to all republicans is the way I will vote from now on.

    March 30, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  11. TONY1954

    Dems will lose BIG in November and again in 2012 and rightfully so.

    March 30, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  12. STEVEN

    It seems to me that CNN is trying to win a war of polls. Everyone is getting into this crazy polling crap. There is a university which has become famous just because of its crazy polls. It's just ridiculous. Nothing can be done without a poll being put out there to scare or encourage one side or the other. Its time, people, you give us real news.
    Help inform the misinformed. The Tea party.

    March 30, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  13. disgusted independent

    All incumbents need to go so that we can flush out the terrible leadership that has severely damaged this country. The Democrats for passing a substandard bill that doesn't address the rising costs of healthcare and will only cause this country to have to burn the middle class taxpayers that much more (Cadillac plan tax). And the Republicans because they were ineffective in doing anything to influence the bill to make it a better bill. And both need to go because they act like spoiled children who refuse to share a toy when it comes to getting together to create a bill of such massive importance. I'm happy with Obama either, but I'll give him his two more years before making my final judgement at the voting booth. See at the voting booth in November folks, hope other independents out there give these politicians a serving of punishment.

    March 30, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  14. USN

    People don't like the shreding of the constitution , peolpe don't like Reid exempting his people from the " health reform" THE people have had enough ! Gee and it only took a year .

    March 30, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  15. stop the nonsense

    So how does this translat into vote since more people claim to be Democrats than Republicans?
    And where is the poll information on Independents, the group eveyone claims win the elections now days?

    March 30, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  16. Lebron in Cleveland

    Here is a major problem with these polls: They are conducted by TELEPHONE. I'm sorry, but most voters 35 and younger don't have landlines anymore, they strictly use cell phones. So these numbers are skewed. If you conducted a poll using cell phone numbers only, I guarantee the numbers on HC and views on the Democratic party would be much, much higher.

    March 30, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  17. Pat in Jacksonville, FL

    Wow this is interesting!! If they ar the party that thought of these ideas, why didn't they vote for them!! Was it because our President endorsed them as well. They were will to do anything including stop all committees from holding meetings (sometimes with leaders from other countries) in order to hand this defeat to Obama. Well guess what it BACKFIRED!!! How all of a sudden your pointing out the Republican party came up with ideas. I can wait until the ads for the November elections. "We thought of the ideas but once our President can on board, we couldn't be a part of it". Priceless.

    March 30, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  18. JeffB

    For God's sake – it's March. How the hell is ANY poll going to determine the results of an election that won't be held for another 7 months. Gimme a break CNN.

    March 30, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  19. Marge

    Gee you put the wrong poll up...I thought it was your ratings going down down down what with all the right wing violent common trash you have hired it is a wonder anybody watches you.....Only Joy Behar.

    March 30, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  20. willard bullock

    I am belived that obama and nancy will be wrong sometime

    March 30, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  21. Seth

    We will remember in November!

    We have video clips of President Obama promising that health care would drop by 2500.00 per family, with this health care legislation.

    Yo Bama... my insurance is going up man. You were wrong again,
    you just don't understand basic economic principles.

    No such thing as FREE preventive care. Someone is going to pay.
    You tax the wheelchairs, they tax me. You tax the Upper class, they don't hire me. You take from them and give to me, I pay your salary, and you get credit for GIVING ME something? Get over yourself.

    You may not get it Bozo... but I do. Leave my wallet alone!!

    March 30, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  22. Mark

    You forgot to mention all the independent voters that bailed on Obama a long time ago.

    March 30, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  23. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    Anybody see the videos of those Harry Reid supporters egging the TEA Party busses. Guess what. Surprise, surprise they are UNION members. Good old lying, hypocritical, trying their best to intimidate us old non patriotic, unamerican, racist, neanderthals. And their is actually video and audio, as compared to some of the charges leveled by the libertards.

    March 30, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  24. Independent_me

    It seems that most of the Tea Party people are older folks who seems to be retired and has the time to go busing around the country.

    Has anyone conducted a survey to see how many are on medicare and social security – both government-run programs?

    Another question: someone threatened to kill Eric Kantor and he was arrested...why weren't those who threatened the lives of Democrats arrested also?

    The Republicans have opened a Pandora's Box that is now ensnaring them!

    March 30, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  25. Obama the Liar

    Hurry November–i want to kiss PeLIEsi good-bye.

    March 30, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
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