In a way today was surreal. The Obamacare bill is already law, and the reconciliation bill is heading to sure passage in the US Senate even though the GOP continued offering amendment after amendment. Each amendment was rejected by the Democrats without serious consideration. But the fight is not for naught, because the latest CBS poll shows that American’s want the GOP to keep on fighting Obamacare.
A CBS News poll released Wednesday finds that nearly two in three Americans want Republicans in Congress to continue to challenge parts of the health care reform bill.
Most striking was the fact that over 40% of Democrats want their Republican foes to keep fighting the bill, and two thirds of independents do not want the Republicans to give up the fight.
Americans are split about the fact that the bill largely lacked bipartisan support. Fifty percent said they were disappointed that the bill did not have support from both parties, while 44 percent said that it doesn’t matter.
Most see the bill as an important achievement for the president. Fifty-two percent called passage a major accomplishment for Mr. Obama, up from 46 percent before Sunday’s vote. Thirteen percent called it a minor accomplishment, and 32 percent said passage was not an accomplishment.
For the new poll, CBS News re-interviewed 649 adults interviewed just before the House vote in a CBS News poll conducted March 18-21. The findings suggest an improvement in perceptions of the legislation: While 37 percent approved of it before the vote, 42 percent approved afterward. Read the Complete Poll
Still, there was significant disapproval for the bill. Forty-six percent say they disapprove, including 32 percent who strongly disapprove. Those numbers have barely moved since before the bill was signed.
Americans also did not significantly change their views on the impact of the bill. Thirty percent still say it will make the health care system better, while 33 percent say it will make the system worse.
They have also held relatively firm in their perceptions of how the bill will effect them. Sixteen percent say the bill will “mostly help,” while 35 percent say it will “mostly hurt.” Both of those numbers are down slightly from before the vote. Forty-three percent now say the bill will have “no effect,” an increase of eight points.
A majority of Americans continue to say that they find the bill to be confusing and do not understand what it means for them or their family.
Passage of the bill did seem to improve perceptions of Democrats in Congress. Thirty-eight percent now say they approve of Congressional Democrats, up from 29 percent before the vote. Fifty-six percent disapprove. The approval rating for Republicans in Congress has held roughly steady at just 25 percent. About one in two Americans call passage of the bill a major accomplishment for the Democratic Party.
There has also been a boost in perceptions of President Obama’s handling of the issue. Before the vote, his approval rating on handling health care was 41 percent; afterward, it was 47 percent. His disapproval rating fell from 51 percent to 48 percent.
About one in two Americans say Mr. Obama has kept a campaign promise in getting the legislation passed. Forty-three percent, including three in four Republicans and a slim majority of independents, say he has forced through an unpopular agenda.
Six in ten Americans say they expected the bill to pass, while 36 percent say they were surprised it got through Congress. Seventeen percent now say they are “more optimistic about Washington” as a result of the effort to pass the bill, up from 12 percent before the vote. A majority still say the vote made them more pessimistic about Washington.
Despite a Congressional Budget Office analysis finding that the bill will ultimately lower the budget deficit by $143 billion over the first ten years and $1.2 trillion dollars in the second ten years, 57 percent of those surveyed, including most Republicans and independents, say the bill will increase the deficit. Just 18 percent say it will decrease the deficiet.
Many of the talking heads on TV today kept asking the Republicans the same question over and over, are you sure that your continued efforts won’t alienate the public? The answer came from CBS. A definitive YES, please keep on fighting.