Poll Shows Public Divided on Democrats’ Health Care Plans

Posted August 5, 2009 at 10:22am

Correction Appended

A new public opinion poll gauging Americans’ views of health care reform indicates that President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats still have some work to do selling their plans during the August recess.

The Quinnipiac University poll of 2,409 registered voters conducted Friday through Monday shows 39 percent approve of the president’s handling of health care, with 52 percent disapproving, compared with 46 percent approving and 42 percent disapproving in similar poll released a month ago.

The survey, released Wednesday morning, has a margin of error of 2 points.

But in findings that might be encouraging to Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress, the poll found voters supportive of a “government insurance plan— by a 62 percent-to-32 percent margin. Additionally, voters said they support “higher taxes on high-income earners to pay for health care— by a margin of 61 percent to 36 percent.

“President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress appear to be losing the public relations war over their plan to revamp the nation’s health care system,— Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a prepared statement.

Among the poll’s other findings:

• By a 55 percent-to-35 percent margin, more voters are worried that Congress will spend too much and add to the deficit than are concerned that the effort to revamp health care will fail.

• About 72 percent of voters do not believe Obama will keep his promise to overhaul health care without adding to the deficit compared with 21 percent who do.

• Independent voters disapprove of Obama’s handling of health care reform by a 60 percent-to-34 percent margin.

• About 59 percent of voters do not want Congress to approve a partisan health care bill compared with to 36 percent who do.

• Voters are split on whether “the president’s health care plan— will either improve or diminish the quality of the health care system, 39 percent to 41 percent, with 14 percent saying Obama’s plan won’t make a difference.

• While 21 percent of voters said the president’s plan will improve the quality of health care that they receive, 36 percent said his plan will diminish the quality and 39 percent said it won’t make a difference.

Correction: Aug. 5, 2009

The article originally transposed percentages regarding poll respondents’ approval of Obama’s handling of health care. Thirty-nine percent approve of the president’s handling of health care, while 52 percent disapprove.