WaPo poll: Even with skewed sample, ObamaCare not getting any more popular

posted at 11:00 am on March 28, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The new Washington Post poll shows the same results as the previous surveys on ObamaCare — that a majority of the American public rejects it.  In fact, disapproval ticked up a point to 50% from the last poll in February, despite the efforts of the pollster to skew the results more towards the Democrats:

In the days since President Obama signed the farthest-reaching piece of social welfare legislation in four decades, overall public opinion has changed little, with continuing broad public skepticism about the effects of the new law and more than a quarter of Americans seeing neither side as making a good-faith effort to cooperate on the issue.

Overall, 46 percent of those polled said they support the changes in the new law; 50 percent oppose them. That is virtually identical to the pre-vote split on the proposals and similar to the divide that has existed since last summer, when the country became sharply polarized over the president’s most ambitious domestic initiative.

The health-care debate galvanized the country to a remarkable extent. About a quarter of all adults say they tried to contact their elected representatives in Congress about health care in recent months, including nearly half of those who say they are “angry” about the changes. In general, opponents of the measure were more than twice as likely as supporters to say they had made the effort.

As always, the sample tells more about the poll than the results.  This poll has a D/R/I split of 34/24/38, giving Democrats a ten-point advantage in the partisan split.  That’s an increase of four points since the February survey, and far outside of reality.  Recall that Barack Obama won his presidential popular vote by seven points, with significant Republican crossover voting.  Gallup put the partisan gap at half of the span seen in this poll in the fourth quarter of last year, while Rasmussen had it at three points in its own survey just this month.

With the WaPo survey oversampling by at least five points and perhaps as much as seven, it’s not too surprising to see Obama get a 53/43 approval rating in this poll.  It should dismay Democrats to see ObamaCare still losing ground even after the Post had to amp up the partisan gap four extra points from the last survey.  The other issue approval ratings won’t be much comfort, either:

  • Health care – underwater, 48/49
  • Economy – seriously underwater, 45/52, with 40% strongly disapproving
  • Budget deficit – 43/52

Interestingly, Obama’s worst issue by far is immigration.  Only 33% approve of his handling of immigration issues, while 43% disapprove, 28% strongly so.  Obama has expressed interest in taking on immigration with the ObamaCare fight mainly over, but these numbers suggest that he may want to wait until after the midterm elections.

One last response should worry Democrats facing midterm elections even more.  The number of people saying that the country is heading in the right direction (38%) didn’t change much from February (37%) after the passage of ObamaCare, even with the additional four points favoring Democrats in the partisan gap.  Steny Hoyer tried saying that ObamaCare would be a boon to Democrats in midterm elections, but that 38% stacks up against the 39% Republicans carried into the 2006 midterms — and it’s going in the wrong direction, even while overpolling Democrats.  And I’m quite sure that the Post wasn’t oversampling Republicans in that 2006 poll, either.


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