Yesterday, Harry Reid signaled surrender on ObamaCare, seven long months after he and Nancy Pelosi promised to complete it in just six weeks — but did they give up in time? Rasmussen has put the opposition to the Democrats’ plan in double digits since fall, but Rasmussen polls likely voters. CNN’s latest poll of adults should have given Democrats their most sympathetic sample, but respondents give Reid, Pelosi, and Barack Obama even worse news on their attempt to overhaul the American health-care system:
Only three in ten Americans say they want Congress to pass legislation similar to the health care reform bills that have already been approved by the House and Senate, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey also indicates that nearly half the public, 48 percent, would like federal lawmakers to start work on an entirely new bill, and 21 percent feel Congress should stop working an any bills that would change the country’s health care system. …
Fifty-eight percent of people questioned in the survey oppose the bills previously passed by the House and Senate, with 38 percent supporting that legislation.
One caveat: CNN didn’t release the partisan breakdown of the sample. It’s possible, but rather unlikely given CNN’s track record, that the poll oversampled Republicans. The numbers didn’t change all that much from CNN’s poll taken two weeks ago (40/57), which indicates that the sampling is at least consistent.
This is the obvious reason that Democrats “slam[med] the brakes” on health-care reform. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that their own internal polling on this issue took a dive over the last four weeks, starting with the slimy deals cut by Harry Reid in getting to cloture and continuing with the closed-door conferences at the White House, with the President and union lobbyists fighting with House and Senate Democrats to cut any kind of deal they could to let unions off the hook for the Senate’s Cadillac tax. The orgy of special-interest horse-trading has not only turned off the general populace on ObamaCare, but made Democrats into the kind of caricature they like to accuse Republicans of being.
Democrats say they’ll take this up again later in the winter, but the numbers look exceedingly fraught for pursuit of any version of health-care reform. Insurance reform that increases government regulation without getting everyone insured now only polls at 47/51, which makes the incremental approach to government control a waste of political effort. Only 30% favor passage of a comprehensive reform bill on the same scale as ObamaCare, with 48% supporting a fresh start and 21% dropping the entire idea altogether.
In an election year, those numbers almost guarantee that no further work will take place on the issue. After the debacle of 2009, the Democrats need to focus on legislation that will boost their popularity, which in this economy means focusing on job creation. Their likely direction — more Porkulus — will wind up being a flop, but at least Obama and the Democrats will look like they’re finally focused on the right issue.