The new CNN poll finds that President Obama’s approval rating is going up, now that he’s on the verge of passing a health care bill — and Democratic approval of the bill is going up, too.
Obama’s overall approval is now 54%, to disapproval of 44%, with a Â±3% margin of error. In early December, he was at 48%-50%. The poll also finds that the Senate health care bill is still opposed by a margin of 42%-56% — but that this an improvement from only 36% approval in early December, and the jump has come almost entirely from Democratic voters.
Greg Sargent points out that this is a “counter-intuitive finding,” given the anger from the left at the dropping of the public option: “It suggests that overall, rank and file Dems may be grateful for action on health care, and see the bill as an achievement even without its core liberal priorities.”
My own take is that the drop in liberal support, and then the subsequent increase, make perfect sense from the standpoint of rational decision-making. At the point when things shifted from a public-option bill to no public option, liberal disapproval naturally shot up. But now, at the point where circumstances have changed from a no-bill scenario to simply passing something to deal with health care, liberal approval has risen again.
In short, Democrats preferred a public option to no public option, and now prefer a bill without a public option to no bill at all.