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. Dumbasrocks [R]s

    Hey, Angry Mob: See the hand with theree fingers on the sign in the picture? Take two fingers away, and that is what I think of you low-life, birth-baggers.

    Passage of the health care bill motivates me to vote FOR Obama and the congressional [D]s in Nov. Finally, an administration doing something FOR the country. I know this has you [R]ightwing drama queens in a tizzy; afterall, the main motivator for your dogmatic way of life is FEAR, as we have seen in the recent past, and people getting health care without breaking their budget will not instill fear.

    If you are thinking of voting [R] this Nov., take a deep breath, remember WHO broke the country in the first place, and try to THINK yourself out of joining the reality-deficit crowd.

    March 30, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |

    We'll see how enthuiastic these DUMocRATS are when the DEFICT continues to grow, Companies start layoffs due to HC bill, prices rise due to HC bill, and (of course) TAXES and FEES starting going up, also causing COST OF GOODS sold to increase, driving pricies up.

    We'll also see how they feel when all others cheat on their taxes (becoming like DUMocRATS) and stop footing the bill for others.

    Yepper, OBOZO's RECORD DEFICT is "THE" Talking Point.

    Love this SOCIALIST AGENDA that no one has a clue how to pay for.

    March 30, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. Rahm

    Forget voting, those things are rigged. How about impeachments and recalls?

    Politicians are listening:
    No Iraq war- they went anyway
    No torture- they did anyway
    No Spying on Americans- they did anyway
    No Nation Building- they did it anyway
    Don't bailout GM- they did anyway
    No Bank bailouts- they did anyway
    No Government healthcare- they did anyway

    March 30, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  4. Ultimate Heretic

    It is not even summer yet. American voters have very short attention spans. Chances are they will be more concerned with the latest television reality show contestants over what will have happened over 8 months ago by the time November arrives. Such polls may be 'fun' for the politically argumentative to have as a discussion topic, but they have little relevance to future activities. Challenge: CNN, dig out a good sized sample of your old polls on ANY topic and see how predictive they were for similar time periods.

    March 30, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. go on with your bad self

    Let the games begin.

    But...sorry Republicanknuckleheads, all of the younger generation, along with their parents are Democrat, for very good reasons, race, gay rights, not wanting to be hypocrites, and middle-class.

    This is not good news for you guys, I know ya know that already. This means you would need to change tactics...and since changing those tactics makes you one of us...I doubt very highly we will see to many knuckleheads winning elections.
    But...ya never know.

    March 30, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  6. Kari

    Some people become fearful and hateful when they listen to the messages spewed by Republican leaders and a certain fair and balanced news channel. They are more inspired to vote (for Republicans, of course) because they are so frightened of the boogie monster that has been created in their minds. Republicans prey on the poorly educated and scare them into voting against their own best interests.

    March 30, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. Joe Gadway

    Don't you mean DemoRATS? Yes, you do.

    March 30, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. Sue

    As has been said time and time again.............

    The majority of Independents will be voting with the Republicans AGAINST the Democrats.

    As has been said time and time again............Obama is just like Jimmy Carter-–ONE AND DONE.

    The Democrats are going to get clobbered in November. And, Mitt Romney will become our President in 2012.

    March 30, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  9. Fangbird

    Poor baby Republicans! They lose an election and then claim they are the majority. Then they whine and whine and whine about how mistreated they are. How about you losers go and get real jobs like hard working Democrats and stop whining about how the media mistreats you and how the elected government of the United States does the stuff they were elected to do. You don't like it? Leave OUR country and go live in crazy fascist land where you all belong.

    March 30, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. JA/TN

    how could anybody oppose healthcare reform on the, the endless wars has support across the board and, it baffles me war is the measure this country can support, the cost really can't be measured, lives Americans, and foreigners, it is Godly to heal the sick

    March 30, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. dblzap

    This was a good bill, and intelligent people can see the benefits for EVERYBODY in it.

    The GREEDY Conservatives are working overtime to stir up the people in this country to hate it because they are in-capable of caring for anybody but them self's!

    Same thing happened when social security went through, and those same people ended up benefiting from it when they retired!

    March 30, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. Charles Matthews

    Pres. Obama seems to think that all tea party followers are Republican, I have been a lifelong Democrat and I and many like me are tea party followers. I am 71 years old and have never been so disapointed with the Democratic party. Pelosi, Ried and All of the Obama crew disgust me to no end. This is supposed to be a democracy and they are trying to drive their views down our throats. They don't believe in our constituion or Christianity. Our group of Seniors and informed electorate will fix this in the next elections. No more career polititions.

    March 30, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  13. foyelady

    Fortunately, a far greater number of people are self described Dems and with the Tea Party antics, many independents either won't vote or vote Dem.

    March 30, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. Marie MD

    The difference between the repugs and the Democracts is that the repugs like to waste all their energies on lies, screeching bimbos and throwing rocks at offices (without going to jail, I might add).
    The Democrats are sitting on the sidelines watching them self destruct. We will be heard come November.
    Spewing hatred, secession, death panel lies and those pesky "teabaggers" are not the way to get anything done because they look and are desperate.
    A good offense is a good defense.

    March 30, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. Liz

    People don't need to be 'enthusiastic' about voting!!! it's not a sport, it's a duty. if Democrats don't want to see all the good Obama has done and will do for the people of this country, they better get out and vote to protect his majority and even give him as many more real democrats to work with as possible. they need to realize he doesn't have a 'magic wand' he can wave to make the horrible problems the republican'ts caused over the last administration just go away. it will take years to clean up that mess and he needs people who will work with him, not ones who will fight to their last breath to keep the mess in place! and yes, we're still blaming bush for the mess, just like we're still blaming hitler for world war II! it's history, and it doesn't go away because you don't like it. the LaLa Landers need to learn that.

    March 30, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. Jim

    i don't much pay any attention to polls, regardless of whether they support what I want or not ... generally the sample size is too small for them to be reliable, and even if htey ARE reliable, well ... people are pretty fickle and the results tend to change daily.

    March 30, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. kpAT

    Watch out Socialists,.. we still have some pull in this country despite the leftist media machine pumping out King Obama's propaganda. Does anyone Really believe that you can insure 30 million more people and lower costs? Are you really that dumb? Did you not take Econ 101 iin school?

    March 30, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  18. geoff

    The fundamental question is whether health care is a "right" or a "privilege" – if it is a right, then a national health care program makes sense and should be funded in a responsible way (perhaps some other priorities could be rearranged).

    Conservatives understandably see the issue as socialistic - but then, let's also ask the questions: Is free public education a right or a privilege? how about public libraries? public universities? what about federal supervision of food and drugs, or interstate commerce? Should Medicare be a right? What about Social Security? What about consumer product safety, national parks, perhaps even police protection? None of these seem to be spelled out in the constitution (such as "in order to maintain a well-regulated militia, the right of the people...")

    On the other hand, how many "rights" must we insist upon? And at what cost? Is it the responsibility of the state to bubble-wrap us from harm, protect us from any potential problem, secure us from any hazard? Or should we bear some individual responsibility... or at least improve our circumstances by individual initiative?

    I sometimes wonder how easily we sacrifice liberty for security, freedom for convenience, responsibility for comfort, and how quickly we assume "they" (the nearest government agency) must attend to our every passing whim. Of course, it all must be free... we must never be expected to pay for anything!

    So let's ask this question: is health care a right? Or our individual responsibility?

    March 30, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. John

    The majority of the people "upset" about the healthcare BIl have no idea what is in it. The right has lied and vilified it so much that nobody would be for it if it was anything even close to thier retoric. As more learn the truth and realize that they where lied to by the republicans (again) for a vote, they poles will change. Money is still a better indication of intentions than a pole ever is. People will say anything to a poll and a poll can eaisly be directed. Very few would donate cash to the oppostion though. The cash donations from the people are still overhwelmingly suporting the Democrats.

    March 30, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  20. ypsifan

    If I could wish for anything and be granted my wish - I would wish the right-wing controlled NO party be flushed down the toilet of history.

    March 30, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. Bobby

    There will always be more Dems than Rep's.. If Dems actually voted there would never be any other party elected-

    March 30, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  22. Carl

    "43% of those questioned approve of Nancy Pelosi." Funny; 42% of the population did not pay any income tax last year.

    March 30, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  23. Joey

    At least Democrats are trying to fix problems as opposed to sitting in strip joints putting the donor money in a g string.

    March 30, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  24. tesakkis

    At least from where I stand (center or slightly left), it HAS energized people. We who disaprove of how Republican congressmen and tea-partiers distort facts have started coming out of the closet - finally. For the past few decades centrists have been more civil ... and look where it's gotten us. The center needs to stand up and yell back more often. This country isn't right or left, but center. And the right-wing nut-jobs have become the loud idealists lately. But there are very few left-wing nut-jobs who can keep us in the middle. I've become optimistic in the past few weeks, and I believe we're now headed the right direction. But we need far more intelligent responses to stupid comments from the right - and a more determined presence at the polls. We know what damage the right can do in power. Speak up, Democratic America.

    March 30, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  25. Perry

    A double digit gap is not relevant. Its the actual numbers that count since there are more Democrats than Republicans. For example, 55% of 100 is smaller than 36% of two hundred.

    March 30, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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