CBS poll: Obama hits another new low on health care

posted at 7:45 pm on September 1, 2009 by Allahpundit

Yeah, lots of poll posts today, but let’s enjoy it while we can.

President Obama’s approval rating on health care has dropped six points since July to 40 percent, and now more Americans, 47 percent, disapprove of his handling of health care, according to a new CBS News poll taken between Aug 27 – 31…

Americans are not only skeptical of Mr. Obama’s handling of health care, but also of the effectiveness of reform. Americans are more apt to say the middle class and small business would be hurt, not helped, by the plans currently under consideration…

One-third call themselves dissatisfied with the way the Obama administration is handling health care, and another 17 percent describe themselves as angry about it. Thirty-four percent are satisfied, and just 11 percent are enthusiastic…

Specifically, Americans predict Congress’ reform plans will cause costs to go up, quality of care to get worse, and the availability of doctors to decline. No more than one in five think Congress’ current plans would make any of those areas better.

The fascinating, and potentially important, detail: When asked about specific provisions of ObamaCare — i.e. the public option, statutory ceilings on premiums, guaranteeing insurance irrespective of preexisting conditions, etc. — people are widely supportive. I don’t know how to explain that except to think that (a) public ignorance about the plan really is as bad as CBS claims, which doesn’t say much for The One’s vaunted communications skills, or (b) the country’s now reached such an anti-government fervor that they’re fatally suspicious of even those programs whose particulars they agree with in principle. Either way, the plan as of this morning was for The One to draw a line in the sand next week for Congress on what he will and won’t support, presumably to sharpen the public’s attention on the details. (The public option isn’t a dealbreaker.) I’m intrigued by the fact that he’s willing to go that far but not offer a specific plan of his own, as Bob Dole advised him to do yesterday. His team’s been wary of that as a mistake Clinton made in 1994, but at this point what does Obama have to lose? He tried letting Congress take the lead and got a 40/47 split on this issue for this trouble. If he’s unwilling to push his own plan now, he must have deep doubts about his remaining credibility.

Via Greg Hengler, here’s Chris Matthews making a surprisingly good point while saluting Bill Clinton as the “voice of God” on health care. I made the same argument last night: Since the Democrats won’t get any credit from the right or right-leaning independents for abandoning ObamaCare, they might as well slam through a public option and please their base. Assuming, that is, that they’re willing to endure an endless series of procedural challenges in the Senate from Republicans if they try to use reconciliation. Which they may have no choice but to do, now that Teddy’s gone.

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