Barack Obama hoped to use a prime-time speech to the joint session of Congress to change the momentum for ObamaCare. Initially, Obama seemed to get a bump inside the Beltway, with fence-sitter Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) calling it a “game changer.” Even Rasmussen detected a shift in support initially, both for Obama and his health-care system overhaul. However, six days later, Rasmussen now says it wasn’t even a nine-day wonder (via HA reader Geoff A):
Following President Obama’s speech to Congress last week, support for his health care reform plan increased steadily to a peak of 51% yesterday. However, the bounce appears to be over. The latest daily tracking shows that support has fallen all the way back to pre-speech levels.
Forty-five percent (45%) of all voters nationwide now favor the plan while 52% are opposed. A week ago, 44% supported the proposal and 53% were opposed…
The latest figures show that 23% Strongly Favor the plan and 41% are Strongly Opposed. In late August, 23% were strongly in favor of the plan and 43% were strongly opposed.
Following the speech, support climbed from 44% to 51% over the weekend. That came crashing down in a hurry yesterday, losing six points in a day and recreating a seven-point gap between opposition and support, 52%-45% respectively.
The crosstabs appear to have returned to status quo ante. Independents oppose the ObamaCare plan by a large majority, 58%-38%, and that will make the difference for wavering members of Congress. Majorities of both men and women oppose it again, with 41% of both strongly opposing it. To no one’s surprise, seniors oppose it 53%-42%, but perhaps in a big surprise, young voters oppose it even more, 54%-40%. The only age demographic supporting right now are thirtysomethings, 53%-46%.
USA Today notes that Obama’s overall numbers didn’t move, either:
The findings underscore the steep climb ahead for the White House in trying to push a health care plan through the House and Senate during the next few weeks. Some major provisions, including how to pay for it and whether to include a government-run plan as an option, haven’t been settled.
The president’s speech apparently failed to galvanize public opinion in the way the White House had hoped. While it drew a national television audience estimated by Nielsen at more than 32 million people, there’s little evidence in the survey that it changed minds.
Obama’s approval rating is 54%, the same as in two USA TODAY polls in August; 43% disapprove, the highest of his presidency.
The problem for Obama is that this was about the last arrow in the quiver. He has tried using the same message in every other kind of venue — press conferences, town halls, interviews — and it’s not moving the needle. People have tired of hearing Obama offering the same arguments over and over again, differing only in the tone, which has gotten more strident and less pleasant over the last few weeks. He’s not just squandering his credibility, but also his considerable personal charm on the stump, and it’s not buying him any votes.
What’s next? Either ObamaCare has to change, or Obama has to change. Thus far, Obama has given no real hint that either will.