After the election of Scott Brown the public appears even less inclined to pass health care reform as they currently perceive it. Two separate Rasmussen polls reveal a public which seems ready to give up on passing reform any time soon.
The first Rasmussen poll released today shows just 40% support the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and Congressional Democrats while 58% oppose it. The second poll has 61% of U.S. voters saying it is time simply drop reform and move on to other issues dealing with the economy.
Democrats argue that the opposition to reform is based on misconceptions regarding what the bill actually does. A number of people still undoubtedly believe the reform package implements “death panels” when in reality that myth has been debunked by a number of non-partisan organizations. Others believe that reform would increase deficits despite a CBO report showing the bill saving billions over the coming decades. In addition while Americans express opposition to reform in general they actually seem to favor the individual elements of reform like the banning of pre-existing condition exclusions.
If the President could sit down with each American to explain the bill and answer questions for hours then you could likely change these poll numbers from Rasmussen. Unfortunately that is not a realistic option. In reality most Americans get their “facts” about reform based on the spin handed out from MSNBC, Fox News, or talk radio and that is not likely to change anytime soon. The fact that Fox News and talk radio has a larger audience seems to reflect itself in these poll numbers. We could argue all day about which side is right but in the end the talking points health care reform opponents have won the day in the court of public opinion.
In all likelihood Speaker Pelosi was not lying when she said that the House Democrats do not have the votes to pass the Senate health care reform bill. Democratic Representatives are not dumb. They know these poll numbers and they also know the political costs involved in ignoring them. At the same time if Democrats do not pass reform they will face the legitimate criticism of being a “do nothing” Congress even with huge majorities in both chambers. The Democrats now find themselves in the unenviable position of being damned if they pass reform, and equally damned if they do not.
Update: Gallup polling has similar results.
For more info: Health care reform nearly dead as Democrats refuse to commit to passing Senate health care reform bill, Polling on health care reform reveals support amid apparent opposition.