The Huffington Post reports that the White House is “downright jubilent” over a USA Today/Gallup poll released yesterday, showing that 49 percent of Americans now miraculously like the health-care overhaul, while only 40 percent dislike it. The White House’s willingness to believe this result further demonstrates its disconnect from the American people. But, lest some of the more easily frightened Republicans start to believe it too, let’s take a closer look.
First, this was not a poll of likely voters, but of random adults. Second, the last time that the USA Today/Gallup poll was taken, a week and a half before the passage of the Senate bill, Rasmussen released a poll at the same time. The USA Today/Gallup poll of random adults then said that Americans opposed Obamacare by only 2 percent; the Rasmussen poll of likely voters said that they opposed it by 16 percent. Third, even this USA Today/Gallup poll demonstrates the two major problems that the Democrats face, as I’ve previously highlighted: opposition to the health-care overhaul among independent voters, and the intensity of opposition among voters as a whole. The poll once again confirms that independents like Obamacare even less than Americans writ large, and it shows that twice as many independents feel “angry” about the legislation as “enthusiastic” — not a good sign for Democrats come November.
Another recent poll is even more revealing (and believable). CNN conducted a poll in the fateful days leading up to, and including, the day of the House vote. It showed that Americans oppose the bill by a whopping 20 percentage points, 59 percent to 39 percent. It also showed why they oppose it: By a margin of 62 percent to 16 percent, Americans think it would raise (rather than lower) their health costs. By a margin of 70 percent to 12 percent, they think it would raise (rather than lower) the deficit. And by a margin of 56 to 16, they think it would result in too much (rather than too little) “government involvement” in health care. These are colossal margins that won’t disappear, or likely even seriously diminish, simply because the text of the bill has now been graced by President Obama’s pen.
Tellingly, the CNN poll also shows that Americans think they’d be worse off (rather than better off) under Obamacare — by a margin of 28 points (47 percent to 19 percent). When the same question was asked by the same poll in August of 1994, in the final days of consideration of Hillarycare, the margin between those who thought they’d be worse off versus better off under that proposed legislation was only 11 points (31 percent to 20 percent). The 1994 election didn’t work out very well for the Democrats. However, if the comparative CNN polls from 1994 and 2008 are any indication, President Obama may well be right that this year will be remembered by the history books — but maybe not for what happened in March.