CBS: Poll bump still shows ObamaCare opposed by plurality after passage

With Gallup showing ObamaCare suddenly popular and Bloomberg showing no change from pre-passage double-digit opposition, CBS seizes the middle ground in its post-passage survey of American adults.   Before the vote, CBS picked up a eleven-point deficit for ObamaCare.  Afterward, that gap was down to four points, although CBS focuses more on Obama’s approval rating:

A new CBS News poll shows Americans are giving President Obama credit for getting sweeping health care reform legislation passed in the House of Representatives on Sunday, and slightly more people now approve of the policy changes, but not quite a majority.

CBS re-interviewed 649 adults, initially questioned for a poll conducted March 18-21, on Monday and Tuesday following the House vote.

Of those re-interviewed, 47 percent said they approved of the job the President is doing on health care, up six points from the CBS News Poll conducted just prior to the House vote. However, views of his handling of health care were still mixed, with 48 percent saying they disapprove.

The increase in support for ObamaCare didn’t materialize in this surprisingly limited survey.  It picked up five points, but that just put support from 37% to 42%.  Disapproval only declined two points, from 48% to 46%.

Oddly, though, the numbers actually look worse in the answers to personal impact from the legislation.  Before the vote, 20% thought Obamacare would personally help their situation, which dropped to 16% after the vote.  Thirty-eight percent thought ObamaCare would hurt them personally before the vote, which dropped three points to 35% afterward — less than the drop in optimism.  Those who saw no impact at all increased eight points to 43% after the vote.

In watching the polls over the next few days and weeks, keep in mind that Americans tend naturally toward optimism. With the bill a fait accompli, expect people to take a sunnier view in the short term, at least until the practical effects begin to be felt.  The Gallup poll took that to an absurd level, but the CBS poll response doesn’t surprise me much.  I expect to see the passion on this subside, at least to a small degree, until voters can actually do something about it in November.  By that time, the longer-term implications will have become more obvious, and the results will be more easily predicted.  However, if the best that ObamaCare gets in the very near term is 42% support with only 16% seeing personal benefit against 35% seeing personal damage, that’s very bad news for Democrats in the midterms.

One last point: CBS didn’t bother to give partisan demographics in this sample.  Given CBS’ history of skewed samples, it tends to argue against the credibility of the survey.

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