Poll: Most Think Passing Health Reform Was A Good Idea

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A new Gallup poll set to appear in tomorrow’s USA Today shows public opinion is turning around on Democratic health care reform efforts now that the bill has reached final passage.

A plurality of voters surveyed in the poll, 49%, said passing the bill was “a good thing” as opposed to just 40% who said the passage of the reform bill was bad for the country.

There’s more good news for Democrats worried about their election chances after passing the bill found in the poll. Most respondents said they had positive feelings about the bill’s passage, and 48% — which USA Today reports is the “largest single group” in the poll — called the bill “a good first step” and should actually be followed by more reform efforts.Should the poll live up to the paper’s preview of it, it would be something of a coup for Democrats. Conventional wisdom has held that passage of reform was a political win for the Republicans, who could run hard against a bill that past polls said most people either didn’t want to didn’t understand.

Yesterday, we reported on a CNN poll that illustrated the political conundrum nicely — while a majority were opposed to the bill itself right before it passed, most still said Democrats were the ones they trust to handle the issue of health reform best.

Past polling has confirmed the take on the bill from the CNN poll. The TPM Poll Average of support for the reform bill shows that 50.3% oppose the law, while just 40.4% say they support it.

Republicans have said they intend to use that sentiment to run hard against the bill and, the theory went, right into big gains in the House and Senate.

The new Gallup poll shows that the American people might turn out to be a roadblock for that plan. Respondents have better feelings about the Democrats handling of reform than they do the GOP, suggesting the calls for repeal of the bill from GOP candidates might appeal only to the most conservative of voters.

Details on the breakdown of feeling on each party’s handling of the reform debate, from USA Today’s preview of the poll:

No one gets overwhelmingly positive ratings on the issue, but Obama fares the best: 46% say his work has been excellent or good; 31% call it poor. Congressional Democrats get an even split: 32% call their efforts good or excellent; 33% poor.

The standing of congressional Republicans is more negative. While 26% rate their work on health care as good or excellent, a larger group, 34%, say it has been poor.

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