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. Dale

    Everyone remember to vote in November!!

    March 30, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  2. Indy

    I see Sue is on here again and I am worried about her as she seems to get more delusional by the day. Mitt Rommney will NEVER ever be President of any free country. Sue once again you need to start taking your meds as you are so far off the truth it is absurd.

    March 30, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  3. Bill of Florida

    I laugh at the person who suggested that he would have been able to retire at 60 with a million dollars if he had been able to put his money into a private 401K instead of having it withdrawn for Social Security. Really? Have forgotten that quickly what happened in 2008? Let's say you would have done that and retired in 2008. How much would your private 401K been worth had you retired, let's say in November or December 2008 or later? Answer: You wouldn't have been able to retire. Here's something else to put in your hopper. Had you retired at 60 with a million dollars under the old health care regime, how long do you think you would have been able to hold on to it? Answer: very likely before you were old enough to take advantage of Medicare. Why? Because those lovely health insurance companies that are sooooo much better than anything the government has to offer would have gobbled up your retirement and either gradually or quickly cut you off. How do I know all of this? Because my parents retired early with a nice pile of cash. Within five years, they were going back to work because their insurance company had gobbled everything up. Good luck!

    March 30, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  4. JonDie

    Didn't go far enough but better than nothing, so I'll vote Democratic in the fall.

    March 30, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  5. Peter

    I will never allow a Republican take away the right of my diabetes stricken to own health insurance....i will notlet you sentence my child to a life no insurance for a situation he cant help....i will mobilize and work hard to flush all republicans out of power in November, you guys sure hate this America!

    March 30, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  6. LoveThyNeighbor

    OF COURSE, WE are ALL looking forward to November to vote the rest of the obstructionists out now that we see that Mighty Obama is FOR Americans and NOT for "fixing" other countries! Nuf' said...Sam

    March 30, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  7. GlynnSeattle

    Ignoring the math and leaving some #s out of the formula will not make this bill or any other bill viable. The doctor fix is over 200bil, but yet it's not to be apart of the heathcare equation? This is just another way of lying to the people. I wish some of you would take the time to do the math.

    Just a bunch of left wing spin artist.

    March 30, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  8. CHIPS

    For those worried about doctor. Send the doctors that is in the congress and Senate out of office this term and maybe there will be enough doctors.

    March 30, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  9. GlynnSeattle

    What nobody seems to realize is that the 5% spike in democrats that will be motivated to vote come November are more than likely to be, voting against the incumbant democrats that voted for health care.

    I take my own poll, and living in Seattle means I talk with a hell of lot more Democrats than Republican. And there are a lot of angry people, young and old that don't like the way this healthcare bill came to be enacted.

    March 30, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  10. phoenix86

    Democrats are eager to double down next November. Making the same mistake twice doesn't make it a good decision, it just proves your mental handicap.

    March 30, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  11. Peter

    I think Dems and Independents are going to finish the work they started with Obama in 08' ....completely flushing the Republicans out of power...Republicans who think in America in the 21st century American child(ren) should go with out health care coverage their entire lives because they are born with a pre-existing condition through no fault of their own....Republicans once again you are on the losing side of history...IM A DEMOCRAT WHO CAN WAIT FOR NOVEMBER TO FINISH WHAT WE STARTED GETTING RID OF REPUBLICANS FROM ANY KIND OF POSITION OF POWER!!!

    March 30, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  12. Sue

    Look at the new USA Today/Gallup poll posted on the Real Clear Politics site as well--–the Democrats are going to get clobbered in November!!!

    March 30, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  13. ray

    For those who voted for obama....I.e. Me This was his platform that I voted FOR....Healthcare reform, education reform, tax cuts. What the hell did YOU vote for

    March 30, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  14. David In Kansas City USA

    Observe this about the Tea Party, Have you ever seen so many people out protesting govenment eight months before a mid term election?

    March 30, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  15. Desmond in Canada

    Take it from someone whose opinion is representive of millions of, even all, Canadians, I dare say: Yyour health care bill is not as good as it can be but it is a HUGE STEP in the right direction. You have an exceptionally intelligent, just and compassionate President. And that goes for your Congress at this point of time too, at least for those who voted for the bill.

    March 30, 2010 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain

    I think it has really rocked a lot of people's worlds that there is a Black man in the White House and a woman as Speaker of the House.

    I feel very sorry for these people, because they're unable to really see people for who they are and are consequently filled with fear.

    And the GOP, which can only offer tried-and-failed economic, military and foreign policies, plays on these fears in obvious and not-so-obvious ways.

    Time wake up and smell the coffee, folks! The GOP is once again trying to use you to get you to the polls and vote for them – and against your own self-interests.

    March 30, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  17. Formerly Depressed Democrat

    But now, I'm Fired UPand ready to work the phones for Obamacare

    March 30, 2010 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |

    Come on November! Doomsday for the Republicans and their T-Potty toadies!

    March 30, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  19. lib

    Gee! I am always left out of these polls.

    March 30, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  20. lib

    If President Obama passes the Immigration Act into law and admit the thousands of illegals, Republicans.... it's all over but the shouting! People of America, Stand together! All colors, sizes, shapes, religions stand with your president!

    March 30, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  21. Palin Power

    Sarah Palin will be completely successful in taking down the DEMS and Obambi in 2010 and 2012. She will become America's next and greatest president of all times for God herself said so!

    March 30, 2010 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  22. J.R. Toronto

    Wake up America! Tea Party Garbage, Rush,Hannity, Palin and others like them must truly hate America? Why do they take the work 'Christ" and "Christian Belief" and drag it into the gutter? As a Christian I find this a real non-Christain act. Christ preached Love not Hared! Homegrown Terrorists in America are the most self hatred people a country can have.
    Why, do people believe people who teach/preach hatred and killing? The fore fathers of your country must be turning over in their graves!
    Whether one is Republican, Democrat, Independent, Green or any other party, level heads must prevail to treat ALL AMERICANS EQUAL = this is what you try to tell others that you believe in. Therefore, PLEASE do not put "CHRIST" in front of your hatred acts, this is blasphemy and against everything "CHRIST" is for.

    March 30, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  23. Scottish Mama

    Alot of small businesses already do not extend insurance to wives and children. Maybe they will be able to afford it now.
    I am worried that the penalty will put already hurting foreclosure people, will they hurt worse?
    Many of our boys in the middle east will need mental and physical rehabilitation. This will add to our 32, million.
    Dems must vote.
    Dems must be honest about how healthcare is and tweak it.
    If people steal identites could they steal your health records?
    Mommas let your babies grow up to be doctors and nurses.{we will need them}
    President Obama is doing what he promised. Don't cry or jump ship now. Stick to your convictions of what you voted for.
    It seams only the men that voted for President Obama are tucking their lails and getting squeemish. Woosbags.
    Jobs President Obama Jobs now!!!!!!!

    March 30, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  24. Mary Jane Williamson

    who ever is doing your pole serveys are not giving you the whole picture.
    They are not keeping it honest. I know at least a 100 people in the town I live in that want to know the answer to this question. No one ever ask our opinon of how we think the president is doing. It seems that your poles are being hand picked. If you want to know what kind of serveys Gallop is sending us give me a call and I'll enlighten you. I really don't expect to hear from you. It seems like keeping them honest is as lopsided as those poles numbers are.

    March 30, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  25. Truther

    We should encourage the Tea Drinkers as they will undoubtedly take more votes from the republicants than the democrats in the fall.

    March 30, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
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