Obama Emerges As Big Winner In Health Reform Passage

The first post-health care reform passage results are in, and President Obama is emerging as the big winner. The public is still split on the reform package itself (with a slight majority still opposed to it), though support appears to be on the rise. But Obama himself has enjoyed big jumps in support since signing the law he has said would be the centerpiece of his first four years in the White House.

Several recent polls, conducted after the House vote Sunday night, show that public support for Obama’s efforts on reform have jumped, and that he has re-endeared himself to his Democratic base.A USA Today/Gallup poll released yesterday showed that the public thought that Obama did the best job when it came health care reform. Forty-six percent of respondents to the poll said he did an “excellent or good job” on reform over the past year. That was significantly higher than either the Democrats in Congress (32% said they did an excellent/good job) or the GOP on Capitol Hill (26%).

A Quinnipiac poll released today showed a similar bounce. Pitted against Republicans, Obama’s health care job approval rose three points (to 45%) in comparison to the GOP. Approval for the GOP declined 7 points to 35%.

Though the polls don’t show Obama flipping public disapproval of his health care focus in the days since reform passed, they do show him making up ground fast. CBS re-polled some of the people it had asked about health care reform before the bill passed the House Sunday and found that their opinion of Obama’s job on reform had risen considerably after the bill became law. With passage, the poll found, Obama’s poll reform numbers jumped six points to 47% approval, while disapproval fell three to 58%.

The Quinnipiac poll confirmed the CBS result. The post-vote reform approval bounce for Obama in the Q poll was 8 points (to 44%) with a similar drop in disapproval (to 58%).

Obama’s overall approval remains in negative territory. The TPM Poll Average of Obama job approval polls shows the president with a 46.3% approval rating and 48.1% disapproval rating. Today’s Gallup tracking poll bucked that trend, however, showing Obama has returned to an above-50% approval rating since the vote.

But, as one pollster pointed out recently, inside those numbers is another potential win for Obama — since he health care vote, Obama’s support among Democrats has risen dramatically. The Rasmussen tracking poll before the vote showed that just 46% of Democrats “strongly approved” of Obama. Yesterday’s tracking poll showed that number had jumped to 60%.

Whatever Obama had done to lose the strong support of his base, in Rasmussen’s surveying at least, it seems that passing the health care reform bill brought the Democrats back to the fold.

Obama and the Democrats still have a long way to go before the public is convinced that passing reform was a good thing. The TPM Poll Average for reform, which includes polls taken after the vote, still shows the majority of the public is against it. But those numbers appear to be sliding slowly in the Democrats direction, suggesting that passing the bill might be a seen as a winning move by many.