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March 30, 2010

USAToday Poll: Obama Disapproval Hits 50% For First Time; 66% of Public Think ObamaCare Too Expensive and Too Expansive

Another poll of adults, the most Democratic-skewing sample.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the health care overhaul signed into law last week costs too much and expands the government's role in health care too far, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, underscoring an uphill selling job ahead for President Obama and congressional Democrats.

Those surveyed are inclined to fear that the massive legislation will increase their costs and hurt the quality of health care their families receive, although they are more positive about its impact on the nation's health care system overall.

Supporters "are not only going to have to focus on implementing this kind of major reform," says Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at Harvard. "They're going to have to spend substantial time convincing people of the concrete benefits of this legislation."

Obama's approval rating was 47%-50% — the first time his disapproval rating has hit 50%.

In the survey:

• A plurality predicts the law will improve health care coverage generally and the overall health of Americans. But a majority says it also will drive up overall costs and worsen the federal budget deficit.

• When it comes to their families, they see less gain and more pain: Pluralities say it will make coverage and quality of care worse for them. By 50%-21%, they predict it will make their costs higher.

Opponents of the health care bill are a bit more likely than supporters to say the vote will have a major impact on their vote for Congress in the fall. Three in 10 are much more likely to vote for a candidate who opposes the bill. One in four are much more likely to vote for a candidate who supports it.

Byron York has more on the WaPo poll that found similar bad news for Democrats.

The public is more united when it comes to the possible effects of the new law: Most people don’t believe the claims from President Obama and the Democratic leadership.

For example, will the law really allow people who have coverage to keep it without changes? Overall, 60 percent of the public says no. Breaking that number down a bit, 84 percent of Republicans say no, and 59 percent of independents agree. Even 44 percent of Democrats say they don’t believe what was the president’s number-one talking point as he tried to convince Americans to support his health care proposal.

Another example: Will the law reduce the deficit, as Democrats claimed during the health care debate? Sixty-five percent of the people polled by the Post say no — they say that it will, in fact, increase the deficit. Eighty-five percent of Republicans say it will increase the deficit, and 67 percent of independents agree. Even 47 percent of Democrats say it will increase the nation’s red ink.

So is the nation really deeply divided over Obamacare? The headline result — 50 to 46 — says yes. But inside the numbers there are ominous signs for Obama and the Democrats in Congress who voted for the bill.

And Republicans find themselves in the odd position of leading on Gallup's generic ballot. Usually, when Republicans win elections, they're behind on that, but only by a little. "Behind by a little" means "ahead by a little" on Gallup's generic.

But we're ahead, 47-44. So what does that mean? Allah figures that if Democrats really got 44% of the national vote share, it would mean 60 seats flipping in the House.

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posted by Ace at 11:02 AM

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