In a new CNN poll released today, 59 percent of Americans say they oppose the health-insurance reform bill passed Sunday night, while just 39 percent support it. (13 percent say they oppose it because it isn’t liberal enough.)
On its face, that’s great news for the Republicans, and suggests that President Obama has a tough selling job in the weeks and months to come. It certainly gives the GOP some footing in their argument that the Democrats have overextended and will face a backlash come November.
However, a couple of other numbers in the poll ought to undercut that optimism. Asked who they trust more to handle changes in health care, Obama or congressional Republicans, Obama remains the clear favorite, by 51-39 percent. That will be important, because once this bill clears its last congressional hurdle, Obama rather than Congress will be seen as its chief defender and proponent.
Conversely, the leading critics of the bill will continue to be congressional Republicans, who lack Obama’s credibility. In fact, even congressional Democrats outperform Republicans in Congress on health care. Forty-five percent say that given the choice, they would trust Democrats, while 39 percent would support Republicans.