CentristNet Blog

Dedicated To Providing Objective Information and Centrist Analysis of the American Political System.
March 30, 2010

USAT/Gallup: Obama’s Disapproval hits 50% as 53% Say Dems Abused Power in Passing Obamacare

Author: AHFF Geoff - Categories: Daily Content - Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

President Barack Obama may end up regretting his pursuit of comprehensive health care reform as his disapproval contiues to rise along with the public's disapproval of the now-passed Obamacare

As noted by Centristnet back over the weekend, President Barack Obama continues to sink in the eyes of the American people in the wake of the historic passage of Obamacare, with a brand new USA Today/Gallup released today showing Obama’s overall job approval underwater as only 47% approve while an all-time high of 50% of Americans disapprove of the job Obama is doing as President:

Obama’s approval rating was 47%-50% — the first time his disapproval rating has hit 50%.

Such elevated levels of disapproval for President Obama remind some of the net-negative approval ratings of his predecessor, George W. Bush, that consumed the Bush Presidency as public concern over the Iraqi war mounted. Indeed, Obamacare may end up being Barack Obama’s Iraq should the public’s views on Obamacare not reverse themselves in the near future. Before long, many national congressional Democrats and state-level Democrats may begin to resent the OBama Administration for saddling them with such a massive, unpopular policy in the lead-up to the November 2010 elections.

For Obama, it is the public’s concern with his massive comprehensive health care plan known as Obamacare that is driving up his disapproval and causing the number of his supporters to shrink. While USA Today and Gallup, along with the remainder of the establishment media, White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs and most other Democrats did push a very shaky and perhaps misleading one-day poll last week showing Obamacare improbably at 49% approval/41% disapproval, one week later this fresh, multi-day poll shows Obamacare as unpopular as ever at 50% disapproval. Several of the criticisms of the prior one-day Gallup poll are, ironically, reprinted today by USA Today in its release of the new Gallup numbers:

The poll of 1,033 adults, taken by land line and cellphone Friday through Sunday, has a margin of error of +/–4 percentage points.

Half call passage of the bill “a bad thing” and 47% “a good thing.” That differs from a one-day USA TODAY poll taken March 22 — a day after the House approved the legislation — in which a 49%-40% plurality called the bill “a good thing.”

“Any one-day poll in the immediate aftermath of a major event is likely to be subject not only to sampling error but also to very short-term effects,” says political scientist Charles Franklin of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At the time, “the news cycle was dominated by the positive side of the story, and only a little bit by the Republicans’ rebuttal to that.”

The undeniable problem for Obama and the Democrat is that a two-thirds majority of the American public simply does not believe their talking points on health care reform, making any increase in popularity unlikely and further declines probable:

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the health care overhaul signed into law last week costs too much and expands the government’s role in health care too far, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, underscoring an uphill selling job ahead for President Obama and congressional Democrats.

Those surveyed are inclined to fear that the massive legislation will increase their costs and hurt the quality of health care their families receive, although they are more positive about its impact on the nation’s health care system overall.

Finally, the coordinated campaign of Democrats and the establishment media to smear opponents of Obamacare as racist, terrorist extremists by highlighting post-Obamacare incidents of alleged violence, threats and slurs has apparently fizzled as well as 53% call Democratic tactics in ramming through Obamacare an “abuse of power” while most (49%) blame such abusive Democratic tactics as the cause of any alleged violence or threats:

There was a strong reaction against the tactics Democratic leaders used to pass the bill. A 53% majority call Democratic methods “an abuse of power;” 40% say they are appropriate.

And when asked about incidents of vandalism and threats that followed the bill’s passage, Americans are more inclined to blame Democratic political tactics than critics’ harsh rhetoric. Forty-nine percent say Democratic tactics are “a major reason” for the incidents, while 46% blame criticism by conservative commentators and 43% the criticism of Republican leaders.

As the details of the still largely-unknown Obamacare package continue to dribble out, such as the fact that the ban on insurer denials of coverage to children with preexisting conditions will not take immediately as claimed by Obama but instead 2014 and the rolling announcements of first quarter losses taken by America’s blue chip companies because of Obamacare (as epitomized by AT&T’s one billion dollar loss), it is very possible that the popularity of Obamacare will decline even further, as “continued opposition will fuel calls for repeal and dog Democrats in November’s congressional elections. The bill was enacted without a single Republican vote.”

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Indiana Becomes 16th State to Join Constitutional Challenge to Obamacare

Author: AHFF Geoff - Categories: Daily Content - Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The State of Indiana Became the 16th State to Join the Multistate Litigation Against Obamacare

Late this evening news broke that the State of Indiana is now set to become the 16th US state to file a lawsuit against the federal government regarding Obamacare. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller made the announcement:

Indiana followed 13 other states Monday in planning to file a lawsuit against the recently passed health care bill.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller said an amended lawsuit will be filed soon in a federal court in Florida, according to the Associated Press. The lawsuit will have a cost of $50,000 and will be divided among the 14 states.

Sen. Richard Lugar requested a report from Zoeller on Jan. 5, seeking a review on the bill that had been passed by the U.S. Senate on Dec. 24.

In his report, Zoeller listed conflicts he found with the health care law, such as the requirement for U.S. residents to purchase a health care plan and fully funding the expansion of Medicaid only in Nebraska.

So far, 14 states have or shortly will file suit in federal court in Florida, while Virginia has filed its own separate suit in federal court in Virginia and Georgia is set to file suit as well shortly. That makes a total of 16 states now actively suing the United States government over the just-passed Obamacare.

Georgia was the location of the first major state-level battle over litigating against Obamacare

Georgia, after Governor Perdue (R-GA) was forced to appoint a special counsel when Attorney General Thurbert Baker (D-GA) refused to honor the Governor’s request to file suit over Obamacare, is in the process of deciding whether to file a separate suit or join the multi-state Florida action. As noted by CentristNet on Wednesday of last week, Georgia was the first major political dust up at a state level regarding Obamacare, and many other states are now heating up. The AJC is now catching up, recapping those same points on Sunday night while focusing on the media attention received by Perdue and Baker.

In the days and weeks to come, it will be interesting to see how the state-level partisan battles now occurring in many of the remaining 34 states that have not yet filed suit against the US government regarding the constitutionality of Obamacare turn out. If opponents manage to push the number of states even higher than the present 16, public opinion could move even more strongly against the far-flung, gigantic package of trillions in government spending and new taxes known as Obamacare.

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March 29, 2010

54% of Americans Say Repeal Obamacare as Key Dems Admit “Redistribution of Wealth” as Motive

Author: AHFF Geoff - Categories: Daily Content - Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

President Obama certainly scored a victory by obtaining the passage of Obamacare, but will the American public support the new massive law as key Democrats admit Obamacare is intended to redistribute wealth?

As the dust settles after the passage of the historic comprehensive health care reform package known as Obamacare, the American public appears to favor its immediate repeal as 54% support such a repeal while 42% oppose repeal:

One week after the House of Representatives passed the health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats, 54% of the nation’s likely voters still favor repealing the new law. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 42% oppose repeal.

Those figures are virtually unchanged from last week. They include 44% who Strongly Favor repeal and 34% who Strongly Oppose it.

Repeal is favored by 84% of Republicans and 59% of unaffiliated voters. Among white Democrats, 25% favor repeal, but only one percent (1%) of black Democrats share that view.

Americans also simply do not believe the Obama health care talking points, strongly repudiating the main claims made by Obama about the benefits of Obamacare by a wide margin:

Only 17% of all voters believe the plan will achieve one of its primary goals and reduce the cost of health care. Most (55%) believe it will have the opposite affect and increase the cost of care.

Forty-nine percent (49%) believe the new law will reduce the quality of care. Sixty percent (60%) believe it will increase the federal budget deficit. Those numbers are consistent with expectations before the bill was passed.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, notes that “the overriding tone of the data is that passage of the legislation has not changed anything. Those who opposed the bill before it passed now want to repeal it. Those who supported the legislation oppose repealing it.”

As noted by Scott Rasmussen above, little has changed regarding public opinion Obamacare since its passage, repudiating the media’s “conventional wisdom” that the Democrats would see a surge in public support after its passage. The ABC/Washington Post poll confirms Rasmussen’s findings that few Americans believe Obama’s health care talking points and that majority opposition continues that is “virtually identical to the pre-vote split” regarding Obamacare:

More people see the changes as making things worse, rather than better, for the country’s health-care system, for the quality of their care and, among the insured, for their coverage. Majorities in the new poll also see the changes as resulting in higher costs for themselves and for the country.

Most respondents said reform will require everyone to make changes, whether they want to or not; only about a third said they believe the Democrats’ contention that people who have coverage will be able to keep it without alterations. And nearly two-thirds see the changes as increasing the federal budget deficit, with few thinking the deficit will shrink as a result. The Congressional Budget Office said the measure will reduce the deficit.

About half of all poll respondents said the plan creates “too much government involvement” in the health-care system, a concern that is especially pronounced among Republicans.

Senior citizens, who typically make up about one in five midterm voters, represent a particularly valuable but tough audience on this issue. More than six in 10 of those 65 or older see a weaker Medicare system as a result of the changes to the health-care system. Overall, seniors tilt heavily against the changes, with 58 percent opposed and strong opponents outnumbering strong supporters by a 2-to-1 ratio.

Considering these numbers, President Obama has a steep uphill climb to convince Americans that this broad claims that Obamacare will be a “historic” deficit reduction plan, that Americans can keep their doctor and plan if they like it, and that Obamacare will reduce costs and increase the quality of American health care. Key Democrats are not making the President’s job easier by explicitly stating that the true intent of Obamacare is to redistribute wealth in America, something that went unmentioned by Democrats prior to the passage of Obamacare.

Americans strongly oppose, by a 84%-14% margin, government policies that attempt to bring about wealth redistribution in the American economy

Indeed, such wealth redistribution policies are strongly rejected by Americans, with 84% rejecting that approach according to Gallup:

When given a choice about how government should address the numerous economic difficulties facing today’s consumer, Americans overwhelmingly — by 84% to 13% — prefer that the government focus on improving overall economic conditions and the jobs situation in the United States as opposed to taking steps to distribute wealth more evenly among Americans.

First, Democratic Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) announced that Obamacare is intended to redistribute wealth:

It seems Senator Max Baucus let slip the real purpose of health care reform efforts – the redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. Baucus said of the health care bill, “This legislation will have the effect of addressing that mal-distribution of income in America.” According to the influential Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, “The last couple three years, the mal-distribution of income in American is gone up way too much, the wealthy are getting way, way too wealthy and the middle income class is left behind.”

Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean then chipped in on Thursday March 25, 2010 by admitting that “this is a form of redistribution” and Obamacare is intended to cause wealth redistribution in the American economy because the economy is “like a machine. You always got to tune it right.” Of course, as the establishment media is well aware such explicit Democratic admissions that Obamacare is intended to tinker with the economy to bring about wealth redistribution would be damaging to Obamacare’s popularity, so the claims of Dean and Baucus have gone virtually unreported in the media. However, Americans continue to oppose the Obamacare package, as evidenced by today’s poll showing 54% favor its repeal.

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March 28, 2010

Post-Obamacare Collapse: Obama 46% Approval Matches All-Time Low in Gallup

Author: AHFF Geoff - Categories: Daily Content - Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

After last week's historic passage of the Obamacare package, President Obama approval today matches the all-time low of his Presidency: 46%

In another crushing blow to the “conventional wisdom” of the establishment media that because “Americans love winners” President Barack Obama would receive a large, sustained bounce in approval after last week’s passage of Obamacare, today Gallup released its daily approval numbers showing Obama at only 46% approval, with 46% disapproving. Obama’s 46% approval in Gallup represents a matching of Obama’s all-time low in approval. While Obama did peak at 51% mid-week after the passage of Obamacare, he has now lost that entire bounce and is at the low of his Presidency, which completely repudiates the “conventional wisdom” in the establishment media.

Further, Rasmussen’s numbers this morning confirm this dissipation of any alleged “bounce” from the passage of Obamacare, with Rasmussen finding Obama’s approval numbers now at the same level as before the passage of Obamacare:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows that 28% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-four percent (44%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -16 (see trends).

The President enjoyed a modest bounce in the polls following the passage of health care legislation last week. However, his Approval Index rating is now back to where it was last Sunday, just before the House voted in favor of his health care plan. All the bouncing of the past week has come among Democrats. There has been virtually no change in the opinions of Republicans and unaffiliated voters.

White House spokesman is sure to face questions about this post-Obamacare collapse in the President’s approval ratings, as Gibbs himself last week tweeted out the Gallup one-day poll on Obamacare as a truthful and reliable indicator of the public’s views.

This continued collapse in Obama’s approval, with an all-time low of 46% in Gallup and a near all-time high in Rasmussen of 44% strong disapproval today, demonstrates the failure of the Democratic strategy to smear the tea party as racist extremists as well. Indeed, ABC/WaPo’s numbers this morning show the tea party is favorably viewed by the American public, despite this smear campaign by the Democrats and the establishment media. Numbers such as these are sure to encourage the Republicans to continue to attack the Obamacare package as a historic mistake and ensure that the cry of “replace and repeal” is heard in every congressional race across the nation in the leadup to the November 2010 elections.

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March 20, 2010

At Least 25,000 Protesters Descend on Congress to Protest Obamacare; UPDATE: More Pics Added From Rally

Author: AHFF Geoff - Categories: Daily Content - Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Protesters stretch throughout the lawn in front of Congress today protesting Obamacare

10's of Thousands of Obamacare Protesters Rally in Washington, DC today

Part of the 10's of Thousands Protesting Obamacare In Front of Capitol Hill

So far today, at least 25,000 protesters have arrived in Washington DC to show disapproval of the pending Obamacare legislation

In a rally against Obamacare called for only twenty four hours ago, at least 25,000 Americans have now arrived in Washington, DC to protest the potential House passage of the comprehensive health care reform package known as Obamacare.   Right now, various speakers are talking to the growing crowd in front of Capitol Hill as every major highway into Washington DC remain jammed with cars, trucks and buses carrying yet more protesters to join the rally against Obamacare. Of course, the establishment media is ignoring this growing flash protest on Capitol Hill and instead only reporting on the claimed momentum of undecided votes turning in favor of Obama’s gigantic comprehensive health care plan. The President’s media allies, of course, are under-reporting the turnout for the Obamacare protest, with NBC claiming that only 2,000 are on the lawn in front of Capitol Hill, which is obviously false based on the few pictures we’ve posted here. We’ll be updating this post and creating new ones throughout the day as more Obamacare protesters arrive in DC.

Protesters Waive Flags today in front of Capitol Hill opposing Obamacare

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March 4, 2010

GOP Health Care Robocall Avalanche To Hit Vulnerable House Dems Tomorrow

Author: AHFF Geoff - Categories: Daily Content - Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

House Democratic Leadership (shown above) are Bracing for an Onslaught of GOP attacks via Robocalls to Voters in Swing Districts

WaPo’s Greg Sargent is reporting exclusively on Wednesday evening that the Republican Party is planning to unleash millions of robocalls to American voters in the districts of 40 vulnerable House Democratic Representatives tomorrow. The new GOP robocalls will focus on the “dangerous” comprehensive health care plan that Obama and the Democrats want to “ram” through Congress, and such robocalls come on the heels of today’s announcement by Obama that he will attempt to do an end-run around the Senate filibuster via use of reconciliation. A full script of one version of the GOP robocalls is here.

Sargent details the GOP strategy and the content of the robocalls:

National Repubicans are planning to unleash a huge wave of robocalls tomorrow targeting dozens of House Dems and warning their constituents that Obama and Nancy Pelosi are plotting to “ram” their “dangerous” health reform plans through Congress.

The robocalls — the first paid media by the NRCC’s new “code red” program, which targets Dems on health care — comes after Obama told Congress to pass reform via reconciliation.

The calls are meant to spook House Dems right at the moment when the White House and Dem leaders are about to undertake a grueling effort to round up support for what’s expected to be a hair-raisingly close vote. It warns constituents that the targeted House Dem risks supporting this “dangerous” move.

“Even though a majority of the country wants them to scrap it, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Obama are planning to ram their dangerous, out-of-control health care spending bill through Congress anyway,” the call says, according to a script provided by a GOP official.

The version targeting Dem Rep Frank Kratovil of Maryland continues:

What’s worse, Congressman Frank Kratovil might vote for it. Frank Kratovil votes with Nancy Pelosi 84% of the time and may follow her orders on this bill too. Frank Kratovil might vote for a bill that will kill jobs, raise the costs of health care, and increase taxes. Frank Kratovil should be focusing on creating jobs, yet he might be the deciding vote that causes this massive new spending bill to pass.

The call concludes by calling the reform proposals “dangerous” a second time and admonishing voters to call their Representative and urge a No vote “before it is too late.”

The call — which will be pumped into GOP, independent and Dem households — will target 25 House Dems who voted for the proposal the first time, 11 who voted No, and four open-seat Dems who have yet to say how they plan to vote this time.

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March 1, 2010

Unreported From Health Summit: Obama Says “Obamacare” for First Time

Author: AHFF Geoff - Categories: Daily Content - Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

President Barack Obama Used the Term "Obamacare" for the First Time during Thursday's Health Care Summit

One interesting development went completely unreported during or after the festivities at the health care summit last Thursday: for the first time, President Barack Obama referred to his own signature comprehensive health care reform initiative as “Obamacare”. Obama used the term Obamacare at the very end of the health care summit in his closing remarks. Here’s the Washington Post transcript of the history-making moment when Obama uttered Obamacare for the first time:

OBAMA: An interesting thing happened a couple of weeks ago, and that is a report came out that for the first time, it turns out that more Americans are now getting their health care coverage from government than those who are getting it from the private sector. And you know what? That’s without a bill from the Democrats or from President Obama. It has nothing to do with, quote-unquote, “Obamacare.”

Some on the left have attacked centrists and conservatives for using the term Obamacare, with some left wing bloggers going so far afield as to declare that Obamacare is the “new N word.” Others on the left claim that using the term Obamacare “demonizes” Obama somehow and is a personal attack on Obama. Urban Dictionary has several interesting definitions of Obamacare, one of which focuses on the allegedly inappropriate nature of the term:


1. n. A term invented by impoverished, dumb-ass neocons to apply negative connotation to the bi-partisan, congressional health care plan.

2. n. A term created to align this struggling bill–being impeded by billion-dollar insurance industries and represented by “the people” organized by Fox News in a “grassroots” movement–with President Barack Obama.

3. n. A term used by dumb shits who watch Glenn Beck and oppose government-run healthcare and are more likely to follow a 7th-Day Adventist ideology over SOCIALISM!!!!

As no one in the mainstream media, popular political blogs or even little tiny blogs like this one has reported on Obama’s use of the term Obamacare for the first time Thursday,  many on the far left who attack anyone who use the term are probably unaware that Obama used the term himself on Thursday at the summit. The term appears in the transcripts, but in no articles of any kind on the internet.

Hopefully, this post will serve as a starting point to reporting the news that Obama actually used the term Obamacare for the first time on Thursday and perhaps avoid continued hostility and attacks by those on the far left who (wrongly) view the term Obamacare as a slur. Indeed, if Obama himself used the term Obamacare to describe his plans on health care, it makes little sense to argue that the term itself is somehow an offensive slur.

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February 27, 2010

Voter Approval of Obama’s Presidency Reaches All-Time Low of 43% Post Health Care Summit

Author: AHFF Geoff - Categories: Daily Content - Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Democratic President Barack Obama, pictured here in his 20's, faces a majority of voter disapproval of his Presidency (55%) and an all-time low in overall job approval of 43% in the aftermath of Thursday's health care summit

With two days of polling completed after Thursday’s health care summit, President Barack Obama’s overall job approval fell to the lowest level of his Presidency amongst likely voters today, just 43% approval, with only 21% strongly approving of the President’s job performance. Strong disapproval of the President, conversely, has risen to a near all-time high of 43%, meaning that the President’s strong and soft supporters combined are now equal in number to his strong detractors amongst likely American voters. Overall, 55% of likely voters are either strong or soft opponents of the President as of today. The intense focus on the comprehensive health care reform package being pushed by Obama and Congressional Democrats appears to be taking a toll on the President’s support, similar to the prior low in support reached around the time of the Senate’s passage of Obamacare right before Christmas 2009:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows that 22% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-three percent (43%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -21. That matches the lowest Approval Index rating yet recorded for President Obama.

The only other time the Approval Index was this low came in late December as the U.S. Senate prepared to approve its version of health care reform (see trends). Most voters continue to oppose the proposed health care plan.

The Presidential Approval Index is calculated by subtracting the number who Strongly Disapprove from the number who Strongly Approve. It is updated daily at 9:30 a.m. Eastern (sign up for free daily e-mail update). Updates are also available on Twitter and Facebook.

Overall, 43% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President’s performance. That is the lowest level of total approval yet measured for this President. Fifty-five percent (55%) disapprove. The President earns approval from 76% of Democrats while 86% of Republicans disapprove. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 38% approve and 61% disapprove. The President earns approval from 37% of men and 49% of women.

Data for these updates is collected via nightly telephone interviews and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. As a result, just two-thirds of the interviews for today’s update were collected following the President’s health-care summit. Tomorrow morning (Sunday) will be the first update based entirely upon interviews conducted after the summit.

Today’s all-time low of 43% in likely voter approval of Obama’s Presidency can perhaps be explained in part by the Obama/Democrat strategy to push ahead strongly with their Democrats-only comprehensive health care proposal in the face of universal GOP opposition. About 60% of American voters disapprove of that tactic as only 34% agree with the President that the comprehensive health care bill should move to final passage without any GOP support. The President also faces a twenty point net deficit in approval of his specific handling of the health care issue (Fox News poll:37%/56%; NYT/CBS poll: 35%/55%), and those polls were taken before the disappointing health care summit. CNN also found that a nearly three quarters (73%) of Americans want the President and Congress to either start from scratch on health care reform (48%) or stop work altogether (25%). Interestingly, CNN’s initial release on of these numbers omitted this critical finding, and CNN noted this finding only three days after the release of their numbers in the context of a preview of the already-taped Sunday show interview of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

Washington (CNN) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is dismissing Republican claims that recent polls support their opposition to the current health care proposals, countering that the real problem is that the American people don’t have a bill to judge.

“When we have a bill, which we will in a matter of days, then that is the bill that we can sell,” Pelosi told CNN’s Candy Crowley in an interview Friday. She added that the final legislation will settle differences between the House and Senate bills, and that Americans will be more supportive once the bill is released.

“I feel very confident about what’s in there,” she said.

The latest CNN/Opinion Research poll shows that nearly three quarters of respondents believe Congress should either start over on a new bill or drop health care reform altogether.

Earlier Friday, Speaker Pelosi told reporters she’s asking the Senate to “act upon” reconciliation to move forward, a legislative procedural tool that allows bills to pass with a simple majority.

Editor’s Note: Watch Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s interview with Candy Crowley on State of the Union this Sunday at 9am ET.

Further, Gallup’s daily tracking numbers released today confirm a downward slide in approval and surge in disapproval post-summit, with 49% of all adults (not likely voters as measured by the Rasmussen polling noted above) approving of the Obama Presidency while 45% disapprove. It should be noted as well that Gallup’s surveys are done during the day, while Rasmussen’s are done only in the evenings, meaning Gallup’s numbers today are only showng one day of impact from the summit, while Rasmussen’s show two days worth. Overall, the RCP (47.2%/47.1%) and Pollster.com (48.1%/46.8%, not including today’s Gallup/Rasmussen updates) averages of all Obama job approval polls show the President at about 47%-47% approval/disapproval. Finally, the overall voter approval of the health care plans before Congress stands at approximately 40%.

It could be that at times of intense focus on the Democratic plan to pass comprehensive health care reform, President Obama’s approval numbers tend to slide towards the level of public support that exists for Obamacare. Today, President Obama issued yet another Saturday message on Obamacare, keeping the public’s focus on this issue, this time imploring Americans and Congress with “lets get this done.” Considering the overall unpopularity of his comprehensive health care reform plan, and the findings of the CNN, NYT/CBS, Rasmussen, Fox and Gallup polls listed above, it appears that Americans may disagree.

UPDATE: Ed at Hotair covers the Saturday morning Obama message of “so lets get this done” on Obamacare, and notes Obama’s odd usage of Olympic spirit in support of his unpopular bill:

I … did not see this coming. But after a thousand speeches and interviews on this subject, it stands to reason that he’s running low on material. So here’s his entry, I guess, in the local junior-high “What the Olympics Mean to Me” essay contest. Hope you win those Miley Cyrus tickets, champ. For bonus fun, try to imagine the left’s reaction if Palin had touted the Games as inspiration for the Dems to, say, abandon reconciliation. Oh, those simple-minded, pandering teabaggers…

It’ll be sweet watching him back away from this hosanna to national unity next week after he gives the order to nuke the GOP’s filibuster. (One of Pelosi’s top aides claims they’re “reasonably confident” they can get a bill through the House if Reid can get 50 in the Senate.)

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February 25, 2010

Health Care Summit Ends with No Bipartisan Deal

Author: AHFF Geoff - Categories: Daily Content - Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Head Table at the Health Care Summit Today, Which Ended With Little Hope of a Bipartisan Deal on Centrist Health Care Reform

Over six hours of debate and discussion between Republicans and Democrats, with Democratic President Barack Obama moderating and commenting frequently, ended just now with little indication that a deal between the GOP and Obama over health care reform is forthcoming.   Obama himself stated that he is unsure that “gaps can be bridged.” The parties essentially talked past each other for hours, reciting their respective scripted commentary and talking points regarding health care reform, with the GOP generally favoring a smaller, incremental health care plan while the Democrats favored a large, comprehensive health care plan.

Media reaction has been generally favorable for all involved, with an interesting surge in praise for the Republican performance from mainstream news sources such as CNN and MSNBC.   For instance, CNN’s centrist commenter David Gergen, who has advised four Presidents from both parties, stated as follows this afternoon:

CNN’s DAVID GERGEN: “The folks in the White House just must be kicking themselves right now. They thought that coming out of Baltimore when the President went in and was mesmerizing and commanding in front of the House Republicans that he could do that again here today. That would revive health care and would change the public opinion about their health care bill and they can go on to victory. Just the opposite has happened.(CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)

CNN’s left-leaning commentator Gloria Borgen also praised the GOP’s performance, stating that “the Republicans have been very effective today. They really did come to play. They were very smart.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10). Considering the scolding the GOP took after the last live-TV encounter with Obama at the House Republican retreat from the media, such positive reactions are surprising but indicative of a much more polished and substantive performance by the GOP today. Another commentator, centrist reporter A.B. Stoddard from The Hill, also had kind words for the GOP:

THE HILL’S A.B. STODDARD: “I think we need to start out by acknowledging Republicans brought their ‘A Team.’ They had doctors knowledgeable about the system, they brought substance to the table, and they, I thought, expressed interest in the reform. I thought in the lecture from Senator John McCain and on the issue of transparency, I thought today the Democrats were pretty much on their knees.” (Fox News’ “Live,” 2/25/10)

Ace rounds up analysis from conservative journalists who argue that the GOP “suckered” Obama into believing they were lifeless dupes at the House Republican Retreat encounter, and that Obama’s skills did not mesh well with the negotiated format today. Obama also appeared to be the lone effective Democratic participant, with other Democrats focusing more on anecdotal stories about individual health care stories instead of doing the hard work of defending and selling the legislative language.

In what may become the most memorable exchange of today’s affair, GOP House Leader John Boehner sparred with President Obama over why the Administration would not accept a bipartisan deal over incremental health care reform legislation on issues such as medical malpractice reform, insurance reforms and the allowance of interstate competition between insurance companies. Obama responded in non-committal fashion as follows:

“John, you know, the challenge I have here, and this has happened periodically, is every so often we have a pretty good conversation trying to get on some specifics and then we go back to the standard talking points that Democrats and Republicans have had for the last year and that doesn’t drive us to an agreement on issues.”

All day long, the Democrats attempted to downplay the issue of the use of reconciliation, as epitomized by Harry Reid’s obviously untruthful statement that “nobody is talking about reconciliation” in his opening comments. Obama also danced around the issue, asserting that the American people are not that interested in the “procedures inside the Senate”:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: “You know, this issue of reconciliation has been brought up. Again I think the American people aren’t always all that interested in procedures inside the Senate. I do think they want a vote on how we’re going to move this forward.” (President Obama, Health Care Summit, 2/25/10)

Obama’s comments run counter to several polls released in the last few days, including Fox’s finding that 59% reject moving forward with Obama’s Health Plan unless a deal is reached with the GOP and Gallup’s finding that 52% of the American public reject the use of reconciliation by the Senate to pass Obamacare, while only 39% are in favor.

Nancy Pelosi’s final speaking period was marked by a sour note of attacks on John Boehner (about abortion funding in the Senate bill) and Dave Camp (about the over $400 Billion in Medicare cuts), repeating herself several times while claiming both GOP congressmen were essentially liars.

Obama’s closing argument focused initially on advocacy of strong new federal regulation of insurance companies with a sprinkling in of references to anecdotal stories of individual health outcomes. Obama also defended the national exchange idea as “not a government takeover” but failed to mention that all policies offered on the exchange would have to meet stringent federal benefits requirements and report to a new federal bureaucracy.

Another theme Obama returned to several times was his claim that his plan would provide coverage to all Americans along similar lines as Congress receives, which is a dubious claim at best considering the gold-plated nature of Congressional members’ health care coverage On selling insurance across state lines, Obama agreed in principle with GOP ideas there but his “philosophical concern” with that proposal is a “race to the bottom” that Obama claimed would result if interstate insurance sales were allowed. Obama again stressed his “pilot programs” for medical malpractice, however, as former Kansas Trial Lawyer Association Chief and now HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in charge of the effort, it is unlikely to make a serious dent in trial lawyer profits.

Obama continued in his concluding remarks by claiming that he put forward “substantial” policies that were previously put forward by Republicans, used the term “Obamacare” to refer to the comprehensive health care plan and discussed the “fair share” that employers must pay via the new employer taxes in Obamacare, while repeating that his plan is “consistent with a market based approach.” Obama then claimed that his Medicare cuts are a “Republican idea” and stated that “he will end by stating” that “I suspect that if the Democrats and the Administration were willing to start over and then adopt John Boehner’s bill, we’d get a whole bunch of Republican votes. I don’t know how many Democrat votes we’d get….the concern…on the Democratic side…after five decades of dealing with this issue, starting over, they suspect, means not doing much.” Obama then tweaked Republicans to “do a little soul searching” to find the inner strength to support his plans, and then quickly stated that “I dont know frankly if we can close that gap.”

Obama then moved towards the end of his final remarks with more anecdotes about how folks he talks to don’t want him to wait and that they can’t “afford to wait another five decades.” Obama partially recognized the unpopularity of his health plans by stating “I dont need a poll to know that most of Republican voters are opposed to this bill” and regarding the GOP’s demand to start over, “if we saw significant [GOP] movement, then you wouldn’t need to start over because essentially everyone here knows what the issues are.” The President than set a “a month or six weeks” deadline for additional talks with the GOP and implied that without progress by then, the President would proceed to attempt to push the present version of the Obama Health Plan through Congress and after that have the People decide via elections. On the way out the door, Obama told reporters it was a “terrific conversation” today. Politico sums up the summit as follows:

Thursday’s health care summit wound down with President Barack Obama making clear he couldn’t sign on to the Republican plan for reform, wouldn’t abandon reconciliation and had no intention of scrapping his own plan – capping the six-plus-hour session with a dig at Republicans for pitching a bill that covers just a fraction of the uninsured.

“Those steps don’t get you to the place people need to go,” Obama said of the Republican plan.

Republicans said the same thing in their closing comments that they said at 10 a.m. – start over. Obama won’t.

So the parties walked out of Blair House almost exactly the way they walked in – completely at odds over the best way to fix the health insurance system. That means Democrats are almost certain to go ahead with plans to short-circuit Senate rules to try to pass the bill with a 51-vote majority, as early as next week.

In the post-summit environment, it appears that Obama did not score a huge victory that many claimed he needed to keep the Administration’s plan to pass the Senate bill through the House and then pass another Senate bill via reconciliation to “fix” the problems with the prior Senate bill. Politico and others are reporting that Obama intends to discard any pretense of bipartisanship early next week and work on pushing Obamacare through both houses of Congress. The WSJ and others are reporting that Obama intends to scale back his present $950 Billion Dollar plan to a $250 Billion Dollar plan in the wake of the summit in order to get a win of some kind on health care. Furthermore, Obama appeared to set a new deadline by the end of March for passing a deal with the GOP before passing Obamacare via reconciliation.. The next few days are sure to be exciting as the fate of the Democratic attempt to pass the largest health care bill in American history hang in the balance.

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Fox Poll: 59% Say Scrap Bill if No Deal with GOP; 56% Disapprove of Obama on Health Care

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President Barack Obama, shown here with his key White House advisors Jim Messina (left) and David Axelrod (right), faces an uphill struggle to push through his comprehensive health care plan as the health care summit winds down without a deal with the GOP

Fox News just released new polling done on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week which shows the lowest approval (37%) and highest disapproval (56%) of Obama’s handling of health care than ever before, a 19% net deficit. The only other issue in which President Obama scores worse with the public than his handling of health care is Obama’s handling of the federal budget deficit, where Obama faces a thirty point deficit (31% approve, 61% disapprove) with the American public. Obama’s 19% net American public disapproval on his handling of health care in the new Fox poll is matched by the 20% net deficit in public approval of Obama’s handling of health care (35% approve, 55% disapprove) found by the latest CBS/NYT polling on the subject. Finally, 59% of the public think that Obama and the Democrats should scrap the health care bill and pass nothing if a bipartisan deal is not reached with the GOP while 34% believe Obama should push through his plan without GOP support:

If President Obama is unable to reach a deal with Republicans at the summit, 59 percent think he should start from scratch later. Some 34 percent think he should go ahead and try to pass the current bill without Republican support.

By a 50 to 40 percent margin, more voters think the health care summit is a “sincere effort” on the president’s part to work out a compromise than think it is “just for show.”

Nearly seven out of 10 voters feel “fed up with” the health care debate, including most Republicans (82 percent) and most independents (70 percent), as well as half of Democrats (50 percent).

The national telephone poll was conducted for Fox News by Opinion Dynamics Corp. among 900 registered voters from February 23 to February 24. For the total sample, the poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

More voters than ever now disapprove of the job President Obama is doing on health care — 56 percent. That’s 19 percentage points higher than the 37 percent who approve.

Furthermore, on only one other issue does the president receive lower ratings than on health care — his handling of the federal deficit (31 percent approve and 61 percent disapprove).


If a compromise isn’t achieved at the summit, by a two-to-one margin Democrats think the president should still try to pass the bill without Republicans. Even so, 31 percent think the president should start over in this scenario.

For independents, it’s just the reverse, by more than two-to-one they support dropping the current bill and starting over. An overwhelming majority of Republicans say the current bill should be dropped if the health care summit fails to find bipartisan agreement.

The new Fox poll also found Obama’s overall job approval at 47%/45%, and interestingly found by a 62%/17% margin that President Obama is better at campaigning than governing, and half of the American voting public believes that the Obama Administration does not “get it” regarding voter anger at DC:

The consensus among American voters is Barack Obama is better at campaigning for the job than at doing the job, according to a Fox News poll released Thursday. In addition, half of voters say the Obama administration doesn’t “get it.”

As the president’s approval rating remains in the high forties, the poll finds that voters by a wide 62 to 17 percent margin think Obama is better at campaigning than at governing.

It isn’t surprising most Republicans feel this way (83 percent). What may surprise the White House is that nearly seven out of 10 independents say they feel the president is better at campaigning than governing, and so do more Democrats (albeit by a thin 6 percentage-point edge). More than one out of five Democrats was unable to choose between campaigning and governing and volunteered a “both” response (22 percent).

On Wednesday there were reports, dismissed by the administration, the White House is starting to make plans for its 2012 re-election campaign.

While 47 percent of voters approve of the job President Obama is doing, almost as many — 45 percent — disapprove.

Earlier this month the president received his lowest job ratings to date when 46 percent approved and 47 percent disapproved (February 2-3, 2009).

Vice President Joe Biden recently said the administration understands why American voters are angry and bluntly stated, “We get it.” Nearly half of voters agree with Biden (45 percent). Yet half — 50 percent — say no, the administration doesn’t get it. That includes over one of five Democrats (22 percent).

More than half of independents (52 percent) think the administration doesn’t “get it,” while 44 percent agree with the vice president that it does.

Finally, American voters disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy by a 56%/40% margin, while also disapproving of Obama’s handling of job creation by a 52%/41% margin. Hotair points out that the latest Gallup polling show similar problems for Obama regarding the public’s approval of continuing with a comprehensive plan if he cannot reach a deal with the GOP. With these grim new personal approval numbers, all double digit net negative, on the key issues of the day such as the economy, job creation, the deficit and health care, Obama faces an uphill struggle in gathering the needed 218 Democratic House and 50 Democratic Senate votes to push through his comprehensive health care plan.

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