The new CNN poll on the health care bill — conducted in the days before its ultimate passage in the House on Sunday night — on the surface appears to show widespread opposition to the law. But on the other hand, the exact makeup of that opposition paints an ambiguous picture of just how effective a Republican campaign against it could be.
The initial top-line shows only 39% of registered voters favoring the bill, to 59% opposing it. However a follow-up question finds that 43% oppose it on the grounds that it is too liberal, while 13% oppose it on the grounds that it is not liberal enough. So another way of looking at the data is that 43% oppose it for being too liberal, 39% favor it, and 13% oppose it for not being liberal enough, with another 3% who oppose it for some indeterminate reasons.The poll also showed that despite the nominal majority opposition to the bill, in theory President Obama and the Democrats were still rated as being superior to the Republicans on the overall issue of health care.
Respondents were also asked: “Who do you trust more to handle major changes in the country’s health care system – Barack Obama or the Republicans in Congress?” The answer was Obama 51%, Republicans 39%
Another question: “Who do you trust more to handle major changes in the country’s health care system — the Democrats in Congress or the Republicans in Congress?” Here the answer was Democrats 45%, Republicans 39%.
At the same time, 62% expect their own health care costs to go up as a result of the bill, to only 16% who expect their costs to decrease and 21% think their costs will remain the same. Forty-seven percent expect their own family will be worse off, 19% expect to be better off, and 33% expect things to be about the same.
So what will the actual political impact of this bill be, once it becomes law? Will it boost the Democrats due to a pride of accomplishment, or will it trigger a backlash that revives the Republicans, or will it all be a wash? As painful as this is to say, there is no obvious answer — and there’s only one way to find out.