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. proud mother and sister of soldiers

    @Kirk from Canada....fear is not leading sheep. Just looking at Canada's health program and what I have experienced, has led me to say NO to health care like yours. What you also do not understand, unlike in your country, only about 35% of our 330 million citizens pay taxes. You already have rationed health care and the program is financially stressed plus you are already experiencing a shortage of family doctors. Taxes will be raised on individuals and businesses. Do you think the economy can grow when businesses are forced to pay more taxes? Do you not think the consumer will eat it in the end? I would say those who oppose Obama are using their brain and not thinking about their personal gain.

    March 30, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  2. bettie

    This poll overestimates the attention span of the American voter. By the time election day rolls around next November, voters will be asking "What health care bill?"

    March 30, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  3. GuyInVA

    I guess this poll tells us everything we need to know. I mean, the elections are only slightly over 7 months away. Nothing else could possibly happen between now and then to change voters' minds, could it? Right?

    March 30, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  4. Bobby

    Approximately 15% of US citizens do not have healthcare. Approximately 9% of the 15% could afford it but choose not to have it. I wonder why so many American's want cheaper healthcare? Could it be because they are living so far beyond their means with credit card debt and other associated debt? So, American's will pay CC companies 35% interest and run up $100,000 in CC debt but health insurance is too expensive? Sounds like a matter of priority to me. Citizens in the US by and large are in serious debt and please don't try and argue with the stats. Same as our nation. HMMM. Makes me wonder about all those that think this healthcare law is great across the board, even the air breathing mandate. People that can afford health insurance because they are not in debt seem to be against it, and sure offended by those that choose to live well beyond their means and expect others to bail them out.

    March 30, 2010 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  5. james fishel

    Are we going to have to change the designation of this great country to U.S.S.A.(United Socialist States of America)?

    March 30, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  6. Mark

    The democrats will suffer a huge defeat!!!

    March 30, 2010 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  7. John, Sacramento

    It will be interesting to hear what negative comments the GOP comes up with on Friday when the jobs report for March comes out showing a gigantic bump up of about 190,000 new jobs in March. The stock market will probably bounce another 200 points and the total stock market capitalization increase since Obama came into office is/will soon exceed 5 trillion $'s..........not bad considering total stock market value during 8 years of GW lost 3.8 trillion or a difference between the two of nearly 9 trillion $'s. I can hear it now...."those 5 trillion $'s aren't $ in your pocket until you sell the stocks", or how about "Those 190,000 jobs are mostly menial, temporary jobs"...or what about "Those 190,000 people should not accept those jobs as a protest against Obamacare!! Phony is as phony says!!

    March 30, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  8. Dave

    All of you delusional dems keep thinking there are more handouts coming. You're nothing but a bunch of leaches who bleed what you can from hard working conservatives. November is coming and we are going to drain the swamp and put an end to all of this hand out crap to people who don't deserve it. No work, no pay, no healthcare, no food, no sympathy.

    Each person needs to take care of themselves. I am not my brothers keeper and I don't owe anyone else anything. I used to give generously but not any more. I did it because I wanted to. Now I don't give because the government that takes my money and redistributes it to low life pond scum like the dem posters on this web site. November is coming and along with it a day of reckoning. Adolf Obama will be stopped and not soon enough.

    March 30, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  9. Carl in MI

    I'm ready to vote MORE Republicans out of office for the 3rd straight election!! Friends don't let friends vote Republican!!!

    March 30, 2010 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  10. Jefe

    When I vote, I decide which industry groups, and which corporations I want more of my own, and my nation's wealth to be forcibly diverted to. That's how I decide whether to vote Democrat or Republican.

    March 30, 2010 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  11. Dan

    When the investors realize the net influence of the cost of this on the economy in the long run (see the big companies that mentioned the influence on the bottom line, already), I think it will be one of the turning points in the history of this country but to the opposite direction the liberals have hoped for!

    March 30, 2010 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  12. bcdbcd

    Dollar signs (or lack of in this case) speak MUCH louder than political alliances, which will be grim news for the dems this November. One of the only things Obama and his cronies have going for them is that the vast majority of this disasterous bill will not have taken effect by the midterms. Sooner or later, even the most blind Obama followers will realize that he and this bill were both HUGE mistakes!

    It took Cater to get Reagan. Now that the currents White House occupant is on pace to make Carter look like Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln, good things should be on the way in 2012!!

    March 30, 2010 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  13. Paul Ernest Show

    If Americans think the government is broken, let them wait until the republicans control the house. We will see a total blackout. A disarray. Why any reasonable American would want a party that ran government for 8 years with budget deficits, commence war that was a uncalled for, causing the lose of over 4 thousand young lives, bringing the nation into debt from a surplus, would want the same party back. I guess we love ruins, and that is what we are going to get.

    March 30, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  14. Jerry

    Geez people. November is a still 7 months away. By that time the healthcare bill will be more accepted, the student loan bill will be a great help to working class folks and the financial regulatory bill will place the big bankers on notice that their day of running amuck is over.

    The Republicans have tried to stop each of these benefits that were passed for the American People.

    Do you want someone in the White House who says Yes We Can or someone who says No We Can't do it, it may offend my rich corporate donor?

    March 30, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  15. Hawk in Texas

    When the elder republicans find out that the health care bill will help instead of hinder them they will find out that the republicans lied to them. that is all they know lie, cheat, fearmonger, steal.

    March 30, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  16. edmundburkeson

    Why don't you take a poll on how Obama's all out race to outspend Bush will affect voters in November? It's not a blame Bush trip that Obama is on! It is envy! Bush drove us under ... why can't I?

    March 30, 2010 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  17. El Gordo

    What is sad about Conservative voters is that they have been hornswaggled into voting against and speaking against their own best interests. In their minds, their government is evil and the corporation that sells lead painted toys to their kids is good. It is very bizarre

    March 30, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  18. Coffee Party

    The republicans and tea party only for one thing and that to destroy Prez Obama. I know for a fact the tea party are racist people.

    Prez Obama is doing a great job.

    March 30, 2010 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  19. edmundburkeson

    I think a T-Party would be very fitting for the political atmosphere in November. At least when the British taxed us they gave us tea. When Obama taxes and fines us for healthcare we will still have no healthcare.

    March 30, 2010 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    President Obama and the Democrats need to keep telling the American people about the many, specific benefits of this health care reform, along with all the other successes of this Administration (military, economic and foreign policy).

    When people think, Democrats win.

    When people are informed of the proven facts, Democrats win.

    And given the sorry state of the Republican Party, with its tried-and-failed policies, hypocrisy, fear-mongering, hate and division, now more than ever, the United States needs leaders and representatives who are truly helping our country.

    So Dems, keep getting the word out!

    March 30, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    President Obama and the Democrats need to keep telling the American people about the many, specific benefits of this health care reform, along with all the other successes of this Administration (military, economic and foreign policy).

    When people think, Democrats win. When people are informed of the proven facts, Democrats win.

    And given the sorry state of the Republican Party, with its tried-and-failed policies, hypocrisy, fear-mongering, hate and division, now more than ever, the United States needs leaders and representatives who are truly helping our country.

    So Dems, keep getting the word out!

    March 30, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  22. edmundburkeson

    When people start catching on ... this healthcare bill is going to be like an iron ball chained around Obama's neck for his popularity. I can hardly wait until the Internal Revenue Service ... yes ... the IRS starts enforcing the healthcare fines and becomes the healthcare gestapo. Won't happy days be hear again then.

    March 30, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  23. Star

    Some of the local hospitals are estimating that it will take literally millions to just take care of the new mandates and regulations thrown into the HC bill. So up goes the price of Health Care. That price tag wasn't calculated in. Most of the coverage doesn't even start for years to come. Most of the taxes don't kick in until 2012. Congress is set to act on a separate $200 billion program to up re-imbursemnts for medicare – why was that price tag not in the passed Bill?? Why, if there is $500 billion of waste in the curent Medicare program, hasn't it been stopped already?
    The government will pay out more in SS this year than they will take in. Because they took the money for other programs and projects.

    Now they get a chance at our Health Care too? Lies and more lies....

    March 30, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  24. Eddie

    How can anyone (Dem or not) possibly think that when Congress and the White House begin to move in a socialistic direction an threaten the freedoms and liberties of Americans, that the people will not rise up and oppose them.....VOTE THE BUMS OUT!

    March 30, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  25. PaulC

    Put the Republicans in power and maybe we will invade Iran and Korea. We have no problem with unfunded wars but healthcare? That is unconstitutional.

    March 30, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
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