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February 21, 2010

Rasmussen: Obama Sinks Again; His Healthcare Summit is Going to Flop

The President's micro-bounce after the State of the Union is over. Just 22% "strongly support" Obama, the lowest that figure has ever been.

Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -19. The Approval Index has been lower only on one day during Barack Obama’s thirteen months in office (see trends). The previous low came on December 22 as the Senate was preparing to approve its version of the proposed health care legislation. The current lows come as the President is once again focusing attention on the health care legislation.

The President is not going to take no for an answer. Tomorrow he will unveil (finally, finally) his own version of ObamaCare. He hopes that his own popularity will buoy this latest attempt to pass something—anything—that has "health", "choices", and "America" in the bill title.

I think he's going to be disappointed. First, most Americans have now had a chance to evaluate the healthcare system and the alternatives proposed by the Democrats. Maybe if he'd done this seven months ago—remember, back when the time for debate was through?—he could have rallied people.

But now we know too much. We've heard about the individual mandate and the public option. We're sick to death of pie-in-the-sky boasts about "bending the cost curve". Regurgitating the same old talking points they've been using since July isn't going to make Americans any more likely to support ObamaCare.

Second, the President doesn't actually have any popularity with which to buoy the bill. Americans keep telling Obama and the Democrats that they don't want more expensive healthcare, more taxes to pay for it, a single-payer Trojan horse, and fewer options for insurance. But those are the features of ObamaCare, no matter how often the President trots out his panicked "we must do something, quick!"

Third, Independents who formerly supported the President are asking why, if he could just propose his own bill, did he not do that seven months ago? It's just ridiculous that he could have shown some leadership at any time, but substituted a speech and five prime-time addresses instead. It's given the Independents a reason to be pissed at Obama without having to endorse Republican ideas about healthcare. It's the process story, stupid.

Finally, Democrats in Congress also have their noses out of joint. They put in the time last year, it failed. Now they'd like to get on with the election season, if you don't mind, Mr. Let Me Eat My Waffles. Instead, the President is still pushing his "signature policy effort" while Democrats watch their districts trend more and more Republican.

So my prediction is that they will take every single opportunity to decide that the President's proposal is just not cutting it. The ones who made stands against abortion funding will stick to their guns because it gives them the perfect stage on which to make hay for November. The same is true for those opposed to the public option and the excise tax.

Obama thinks he's taking control of this issue at Thursday's* healthcare summit. He's not.

*Corrected thanks to newrouter.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 11:34 AM

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