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. republicans hate america

    i am not enthusiastic at all but I will be voting in NOV to change out the GOP rep we have and in 2012 to keep Obama in office.

    March 30, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  2. Jon F

    It's people like "Dennis" below at 4:57pm that are what ignites the fuel that divides this country. You cannot lump everyone into an economic class. That is no better than racism. By turning everyone who has made a decent living in the last 20 years into a demon, you just alienate many of those who would agree with you.

    When you tax and tax some but not all of the people – all you do is tear down the economic fabric that creates and maintains employment. There are lots of people in the economic brackets that you are vilifying that are also Democrats – many of them work for Obama too. Sorry, but that narrow minded thinking is what made racism such a problem in this country for so many years.

    March 30, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  3. Connie

    I am a Republican and I also love GOD so your prior comment is not true. I am also conservative. I willingly offer a "hand up" to those in need, but I am not so willing to freely give the "handouts" the Democrats are so known for. The Dems need to go from congress. They have divided the country over this healthcare issue and the old saying, "United We Stand, Divided We Fall"could soon be the new USA slogan.

    March 30, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  4. amarillo10

    It is a GOOD THING that it will get people to vote no matter their support or opposition to the health care legislation.

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

    Just wait until ALL the People discover the truth about how they will personally benefiit from the healthcare law. Republicans have told so many lies, there are still many that are confused or still cowering in fear.

    When the reality of what healthcare brings – help for seniors and their prescription med coverage, insurance for many working class families, end to abuses by the insurance companies, no droppage of your coverage when you get sick, no discrimination against women in premium costs and focus on preventive care where you will pay NO co-pay for check-ups – ALL of these things will directly and positvely affect the lives of the People.

    When they see this and realize how much they were lied to by the dishonorable Republicans who stood with the insurance companies and AGAINST the People – Republicans will be in huge trouble come November.

    No voter is going to vote for a Republican traitor who chose the banks and the insurance companies over we the people. We aren't going to vote for dangerous Republicans who see nothing wrong with telling lies, spreading hate, fear-mongering, racism, violence-inciting speech, death threats, and support of lunatic groups like the Tea Baggers. No Republican can be trusted and we are going to take a stand against their gutter and hate style of politics. That is not the values we believe in and it is un-American and unpatriotic. If you have nothing positive to offer, no solutions, no ideas, and no concern for ALL people – not just white rich ones – we will use our NO vote to rid Congress of all the do-nothing characterless Republicans!

    March 30, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  6. republicans hate america

    republicans will run on repealing the law because they believe insurance companies should be able to deny you coverage for whatever they feel like denying you for. that is what republicans believe

    March 30, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  7. Truthmatterz

    If all the people who are against Government interfering in their lives and are worried about socialism, would simply stick to their principles and give up all forms of Government assistance and Government run subidies, then we could all be paying much lower taxes. I don't think the Government should force services on people who are against them. No more libraries, public schools and transportation. No more police or firemen.
    It turns out that many of the teabaggers are on Government disability or Federal unemployment. Many are taking advantage of Government run Medicare or Veterans services. In other words that are on the dole, and what they resent is that somebody else might end up getting a little too.

    March 30, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  8. JT the MO college freshman

    "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, you put too much confidence in one poll that only surveys just over 1000 voters out of nearly 200 million voters that can vote out there. To say that .00000504% of the population of voters will determine the outcome of a election is not very accurate. Besides, polls divide people from focusing on the issues that really do matter such as healthcare, climate change, financial reform, immigration reform, and equality under the law.

    I am aware that everyone has their take on how our current issues should be dealt with; that is why I studied the other points of view out there, even though they might not agree with how I personally see the world and my country around me. My ideas are progressive, I am not denying that fact, but I think that to achieve those ideas above, I think that we need to work together as one people to achieve those. A healthy country is when the government and the citizens debate with eachother in an intelligent, civil tone of discussion to get issues done or slowly taken care of. Let me compare some psychological terms that we deal with everyday with ourselves, and I am going to relate them to how we should act as a society to get things accomplished. Some motivational concepts and theories are what we can use to relate eachother to work together; Instinct, Drive, Incentive, Arousal, and Humanistic; let me give a one or two sentence brief explanation of what those theories comprehend for us:

    Instinct: According to the Instinct Theory, people are motivated to engage in certain behaviors because of evolutionary programing. Just as animals display automatic and innate instinctual behavior called called fixed action patterns such as migration or mating rituals, human behavior was also thought to be motivated by inborn instinctual behavior patterns.

    Drive: In general, Drive Theories asserted that behavior is motivated by the desire to reduce internal tension caused by unmet biological needs, such as hunger or thirst. The basic idea was that these unmet biological needs "drive" or "push" us to behave in certain ways that will lead to a reduction in the drive.

    Incentive: Incentive Theories proposed that behavior is motivated by the "pull" of external goals, such as rewards, money, and recognition. It's easy to think of many situations in which a particular goal, such as promotion at work, can serve as an incentive that helps activate particular behaviors.

    Arousal: Arousal Theory is based on the observation that people find both very high levels of arousal and very low levels of arousal quite unpleasant. When arousal is too low, we become bored, and seek out activities to stimulate our minds; when arousal is too high, we seek to reduce or find something that will calm us down in some way.

    Humanistic: Humanistic theories of motivation were promoted by psychologists Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. Although not discouting the role of biological and external motivaters, humanistic theories emphasized psychological and cognitive components in human motivation; people are motivated to realize their potential as a person and as a society.

    How all these psychological terms mean and relate to what I am trying to say here in this discussion is that as a society, we are motivated to better ourselves, others, and our nation and world around us. Lets take the subject of climate change and energy independence; with that, comes terms that we have recognize what they mean such as sustainable society.

    Some might ask what the term, "sustainable society" is actually defined as; here is a brief explanation of what it means: a society's ability to use resources in a manner in which they can sustain the population without depleting all the resources for future generations of that society to use. As a country, our population is stable, which is a good thing; we have reached a stage called "Modern Stability." While our population may be stable, the rate of which we consume our resources around us cannot be kept up for too much longer without future generations seeing consequences that are not too pleasant. Think of this in an economic point of view; about 65-70% of our economy is somehow related to foreign energy that can run out at any time, and that energy is in some countries that do not like us very much; that means that they could shut off the majority of our energy supply, which could lead to a economic crisis even worse than the Great Depression back in the 1930s. The only way we can prevent that type of situation from happening in the country we live in is to work together as one country and as one people to work and find a way to restructure that really big part of our economy that can be shut off at any time now. If we make the necessary sacrifice to restructure that part of the economy to run both renewable and non-renewable energy here in the USA independently, then those problems will not happen in the future.

    The future is counting on us to do what is right, true, and hard; great achievements in human history did not come from taking the easy path, they came from taking the hard, bumpy, but necessary track to a successful future. These are only some great historical figures that took the hard but necessary track: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Susan B. Anthony for women's rights of free choice.

    What we can do is work together as one human race to achieve what most say cannot be done; to do so though is going to require for us to make a necessary sacrifice to ensure that our children will see a prosperous future. I still have confidence that we all have the potential to do so.

    “When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.”

    March 30, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  9. Lisa in Ga

    It seems as if there are divided comments here.. I see the republicans have a few fear mongers on here as well.. the truth of the matter is this healh care bill has repubican ideas in it ....but yet they voted" no "on the bill.. we don't have time for all the fear mongering and lies the republicans are telling .. its time to move this country forward.. the republicans are still thinking as if they are in the last 9 years. they need to wake up b/c Nov will be the tell-tell for the party of NO.. hopefully their party will just DISAPPEAR!

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

    Just watch your taxes will go up. Oh don't forget now there is the govt run financial aid for school. What is next?

    March 30, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  11. RH

    Thank you President Obama for doing something postive for our country.
    No longer do we have to worry about traveling overseas and being afraid because we are American. Don't listen to the ANGRY MOB or the Violent Gang members of the GOP. You did the right thing Mr. President and you will go down in history as the best president this U.S. of A. ever had !!!

    What did George W do????? crichet crichet...oh yeah he killed thousands of innocent American soldiers.

    Only the violent get T.V. coverage...don't worry we are behind you.

    March 30, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  12. LacrosseMom

    **************Please Post CNN******************************************

    Last week's USA Today Poll showed that one the day President Obama signed the Healthcare Bill into law.......

    49%........ of Americans APPROVED and only 40% opposed.

    Once Americans realized that their taxes will not go up, they will realize that once again the GOP has been telling lies and fear mongering! ONLY ..... the 1% of our wealthiest, who earn MORE than $250,000 a year will see their taxes go up, as the Bush Tax Cuts end.

    Passing the Healthcare Bill SAVES AMERICAN LIVES why is it that the Republicans don't like about saving American lives?!

    Beware America of small groups of loud, angry, hateful people, that is how a small group began in 1930's Germany!

    March 30, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  13. maine liberal

    what all these polls show is a common element. its the other guys representative we dislike. Our rep is just fine and should return to congress.

    March 30, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  14. marcia

    I know...let's give all the Democrat voters the Health Care that they worship from Obama on High.
    And all the Republican voters a choice of what kind of health care they want.Then everyone is happy. Or is everyone happy only if we all do what the Democrats want?

    March 30, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  15. Blue

    The white males cannot stand to have a woman Speaker of the House. Can you even think what would happen if a woman was elected president?

    March 30, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  16. Bobby

    Not suprising. America has never had a breathing air mandate. This is the first one. While we have always been proud of that fact and have been able to point out that this makes us different, it no longer does. Perhaps the most vile thing about this is that congress excluded themselves from the mandate. This is exactly the same thing that controlling countries do. Vote them all out, regardless of party. What a slap in the face of US citizens.

    March 30, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  17. Diana

    Hello. I am a conservative dependent and believe in the Tea Party /American Movement and yes, I am hispanic! Just for your information , not all Tea Partiers are whites! In fact, everyone in my circle, friends, family all approve of the Tea Party Movement and yes they are all hispanic. Vamos a sacar todos los liberales en el congreso.!

    March 30, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  18. West Coast Conserv

    The United States of America has always been victorious over foreign invaders. This will be the same for Hussein and the rest of you progressive liberal crowd.

    March 30, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  19. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Yes this confirms what we have known all along that the fantasy world of Tea Party activism or other partisan groups are a bunch of hype perpetuated by the media.

    In reality, Congress truly represents the majority views in that both the House and Senate still maintain the largest Democratic party leads in decades. Good luck Republicans with your mean-spirited lunatic fringe that has hijacked the party and drove out nearly all the moderates.

    March 30, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  20. Dave in Houston

    Beverly – NYC March 30th, 2010 3:39 pm ET

    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.
    are you serious
    ive put $78,000.00 dollars into social security in the last 30 years
    my employers have matched those funds
    if this had been put into a private 401k i would have well over a million to retire on at 60 years old.
    probably could afford good insurance to
    Social security or social rape, you make the choice.
    you need to wake up!!

    March 30, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  21. Ross Weiberg

    Posts here reflects the level of understanding on the issues that befuddled this country. Majority of the Republican responses are guided by emotions simply because they were stirred by the spins made by right wing group whose only idea of recapturing the majority of the congress is through their lies and sowing fears. That's why their followers responds angrily without basing their arguments with facts. On the other side, Democrats should also campaign that their resolve is also for the "American People" as what the Repubs always quote in their daily media spins. Only intelligent people can really comprehend issues by their merit.

    March 30, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  22. Poppa Chris

    Another day another poll... My question to all of the respondents to this article no matter which side of the coin you are on:

    Have any of you ever been asked to participate in such a poll?

    Neither have I... Personally, I have less trust in these polls than I do in Congress, and that is pretty low. I am no "tea-bagger" nor am I for increasing anarchy in lieu of government. But, I am being driven to become an independent.

    I forget which of our founding fathers said this but I see the wisdom in it. "That government is best which governs least"

    March 30, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  23. Mark

    I'm always amazed and how stupid people can be. Does making threats make you feel like a grown up? Pathetic people. YOU are why I don't have faith in our government.

    March 30, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  24. Rick Jones

    Say what you will about health care, this mid-term election will be about jobs.

    March 30, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  25. freelance

    The bill is going to spur people to vote. Does this mean turnout will rise to a percentage in the high fifties? (It was 63% in our last PRESIDENTIAL election) And of course the following week we'll complain about the results, while Europe, with turnout pushing 90% even in countries without compulsory voting, will laugh at us.

    March 30, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
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