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. Publius13

    So 54% of respondents disapprove of how the Speakeer is handling her job. That's interesting, but how many of the respondents were from CA-8? 'Cause those are the only votes that count.

    March 30, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. D.D.

    What were some of the comments made after previous government interventions? How long before the people accepted the passage into law?

    March 30, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  3. Publius13

    So 54% of respondents disapprove of how the Speaker is handling her job. That's interesting, but how many of the respondents were from CA-8? 'Cause those are the only votes that count.

    March 30, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  4. Redman, CA

    To all those complaining about Health-care reform, ask yourself why? Seriously. Is it that the you are afraid of the government takeover? If so, I don't hear any complaints about the gov't running the military, the police, fire departments. Where are all the complaints about Medicare? I see a lot of old people in the Tea Party complaining.

    Is it the money? If so, where is the "angry mob" complaining about the money being spent in Iraq? There never seems to be an issue of money for war...

    I am Canadian living in the US – I love America, but your health-care is broken. I am stupefied by the attitude of those fighting reform.

    March 30, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  5. Joe200

    Sense of loss or anger is always a much stronger motivator than success. But it's a long time to November...

    March 30, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  6. Kurt from Canada

    I think I may be giving up on you Americans. You really are easlly manipulated sheep who can be influenced by fear. I guess using the logic and common sense part of the brain isn't an American value.

    March 30, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  7. mybuzzcomments

    Time to dump congress! Just say NO to O

    March 30, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  8. Dennis

    I for one can't wait to vote. I believe the deficit is a HUGE problem so I will vote for the candidate who WILL TAX the living bajesus out of those who greatly benefited from the past decade of fleecing the hard-working average American and who caused this great crisis we are in today. I will vote against the Republican party who is responsible for 90% of the debt America has today. Look it up. Reagan, Bush and Bush, the lions share of the debt came under their administration.

    March 30, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  9. Gerry NH

    The independents will decide the out come of this election. There will be allot of people loosing there jobs this year.

    March 30, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  10. Tom

    When people become more aware of what the Repubes have to offer, they'll realize there's not much there. Playing opposition to a popular President doesn't get you very far, especially if you don't have a more appealing game plan for leadership. They need to stand for something positive and not just be anti-Obama.

    March 30, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  11. colorado citizen

    Did CNN ever ask the question in any poll as to whether those polled approved or disapproved of the job Denny Hastert was doing as Speaker? I sure don't recall it. The average American voter has no idea whether the Speaker of the US House is or is not doing a good job. They are influenced on a question like this based on commentary from political hacks on cable TV of both political persuasions. Regardless of party affiliation, the job a Speaker is doing should be based on how successful he or she is in getting major legislation through the House. Based on that, Speaker Pelosi and Speaker Hastert should receive strong marks.

    March 30, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  12. Merry Marta

    Those who are against health insurance reform, stick by your principles. Refuse all of the protection or benefits in this bill. Take your chances with your insurance company. After all, your rates are low and will not be raised without warning, right? Oh yes, I forgot...your family will never become ill. They will not be laid off nor fired. It must be great to be so secure, knowing that the sky will not fall on you! Refuse to partake of this bill; put your money where your mouth/principles are. The more that refuse, the more will be available for those that want and need this bill.

    March 30, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  13. ib

    You bet; I'm not a republican but I will vote to kick the people out that passed this thing. It will lead to ration healthcare for seniors and I'm just hope people will remember to vote them out for the sake of our country.

    March 30, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  14. BajaJohn

    We all know,. The Republican's master is money, not God. So, being Godless, they could care less about the healthcare of people without that benefit.

    March 30, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  15. justaman

    Funny thing how one party can spend billions, but as soon as nature runs its course and the other party is in, everybody starts screaming.
    We'd best be careful of the angry country we're becoming. Go ask the Iraqi's, the Iranians, et al.

    March 30, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  16. Halt

    Stop the talk, stop the surveys, stop the protests in the street, just wait untilelection day and vote the madmen OUT.

    March 30, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  17. Cheryl

    Well, maybe the positive out of this mess is that it has motivated people to get involved!

    March 30, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  18. Warmonger

    I hope the Democrats come out in force and vote OUT thier warmonger President. Warmonger you say??? Yes, he sent more troops overseas. He did not keep his promise to end all the wars and close Gitmo. And then he stops in and pep talks the troops. But I will guess the truth is, instead of voting him out, the Dems will follow this so called leader right into another war.

    Warmonger Obama needs to go.

    March 30, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  19. Jon F

    It's funny in that Obama was supposed to be a "unifying" leader. Instead he presides over a great divide in opinion and action. I was eager when Obama took office, now I am disappointed in how he has not changed anything at all. He, in fact, is one of the most "totally political" Washington-type dinosaurs there is.

    March 30, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  20. Jimbo

    "ration healthcare for seniors"

    So where did you get that? Is it from an old GOP anti-everything poster?

    March 30, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  21. Daph

    Its going to be great to see, after AMERICANS have had time to digest the HEALTHCARE Bill signed into law and see how it affects their families. It should be ery interesting to see how you would want to give up something that benefits your family ... There are many ways that this bill will affect millions of familys and by November most folks should know how it affects their family .......

    March 30, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  22. American Patriot - a true "tea partier"

    Leftist media machine?

    Where is this "leftist" media? All I ever hear is the conservatives spouting their nonsense all over the place. There's no such thing as "leftist" media. It's all "rightist" and there's one immutable fact that Bush/Cheney and their bunch proved - they hate America and Americans.

    March 30, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  23. jojomcgee

    Hey Merry Marta – good suggestion. I want out of Obamacare. And give me back my tax money that Obama is currently stealing from me at the point of IRS guns.

    March 30, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  24. Torin for Lawrenceville Ga

    Polls are very fickle indeed. But one recent Harris poll raised my eyebrows. This poll showed that 38% of all self-identified Republicans believe that President Obama has done many of the things that Hitler did? What!! When did President Obama order the invasion of Poland, France and bombing of citizens in London? Where are the concentration camps for Jews, Catholics, gypsies, and the disabled? When did President Obama order the suppression of all political speech and books that are adverse to the goverment?

    Polls sometimes show how ignorant and intolerate people really are in this country.

    March 30, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  25. Barry

    I'm sorry CNN, no way you spin it are Democrats going to win this one. They’re going down.

    March 30, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
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