Yet another opinion poll indicates the public wasn’t sighing in relief after ObamaCare passed. The latest is from CBS News, which calls the American public “increasingly skeptical” about the new health laws:
Fifty-three percent of Americans say they disapprove of the new reforms, including 39 percent who say they disapprove strongly. In the days before the bill passed the House, 37 percent said they approved and 48 percent disapproved.
Republicans and independents remain opposed to the reforms, and support has dropped some among Democrats. Now 52 percent of Democrats approve of the new reforms, a drop from 60 percent just before the bill was passed by Congress.
So, no softening among Republicans and independents, and a hardening of Democratic opinion against the bill.
There was a brief bounce: In the days immediately following the House’s passage of ObamaCare, the approval gap for the legislation improved from minus-11 to minus-4 (follow the CBS News results in the second table here). Within one week, however, the gap had re-widened to the current minus-21.
The same goes for the USA Today/Gallup poll, which showed a 12-point swing in ObamaCare’s favor immediately following the House vote. Less than a week later, however, sentiment as measured by the very same poll had swung back against the new law by those same 12 percentage points.
Rasmussen Reports shows a steady 12- to 13-point disapproval margin for the bill-turned-law. Recent polls by Quinnipiac and for the Washington Post also show lingering disapproval for the new law.
The public’s verdict remains clear: While the Democrats could reasonably claim a mandate after the 2008 elections to do some kind of health-care reform, this wasn’t what the people expected or wanted.
Pundits keep trying to guess how much longer the public will stomach hearing about health care, given that it has dominated the public debate since last summer. The conventional wisdom is that people will tire of hearing about health care, but I think that’s only half-right. People may tire of hearing only about health care, but this kind of early hardening of opinion against ObamaCare suggests that it could easily remain at the heart of a broader election-year debate about the size and scope of government.
One piece of evidence for my thinking: The early results of the voting at ContractFromAmerica.com. The top three vote-getters so far are a requirement that Congress cite the specific provision of the Constitution that gives it authority to pass any given bill; the rejection of a cap-and-trade plan for CO2 emissions; and a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. Each of these ideas has received support from at least two-thirds of the participants so far; the online vote is still under way, and the full results will be announced April 15.
The president says it will take more than one week for public opinion of ObamaCare to improve. Fair enough. In the meantime, as the public learns more about what’s in the new law, the hole is only getting deeper.