Popular Opinion Turns Against Republicans On Health Care?

Popular Opinion Turns Against Republicans On Health Care?


I’m starting to notice some poll numbers that suggest an interesting trend. Basically, Americans aren’t necessarily happy with Obama’s health care plans, but they trust Republicans a LOT less.

Take a recent CBS/NY Times poll as an example:

  • 52% of Americans trust Obama to make the right decisions for health, while only 27% feel Republicans are more trustworthy.
  • 60% think Obama is trying to work with Republicans. Only 30% think Republicans are trying to do the same.
  • just 30% have a good view of Congressional Repubs. 47% have a favorable view of Dems.

Next, Pew Research polls on the tone of the debate and finds that the majority thinks it’s rude, disrespectful and the GOP’s fault…

Then, a WSJ/NBC poll finds that if the health care bill fails…voters will blame Republicans:

More than one in three Americans, 37%, said congressional Republicans will be “most to blame” if the bill fails.

That’s almost four times the 10% of respondents who said President Barack Obama will be to blame, and nearly three times the 16% of respondents who said congressional Democrats will be to blame. Nearly a quarter, 23%, said all three will be to blame.

So why is this happening?

  • First, Republicans don’t have viable alternatives and Americans aren’t buying the whole “loyal opposition” schtick. They want real ideas and they’re seeing nothing from the right.
  • Second, the “Tea Party/birther/Glenn Beck/Obama is a socialist/racist/nazi/anti-christ” nonsense is wearing out the independents. And it’s not that the Indys think anybody who opposes Obama’s plan are racist. Far from it. But some of the folks in the opposition are CLEARLY prejudiced and Congressional Republicans aren’t calling them out. So voters think they’re cowards.
  • Last, Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” scream may have turned him into folk hero on the right, but those two words encapsulated everything that Americans don’t like about the current GOP. That’s not to say that there aren’t genuine, thoughtful conservative voices, but they’re being drowned out by the Joe Wilsons of the world. And after a near cataclysmic economic meltdown last year, voters are having none of it from the Repubs. They want the GOP to play nice, compromise and have a little humility.

That’s my take…what do you think?

  • rachel

    For years, both my parents proudly voted Republican and tried their best to persuade me to do the same. Sometimes I even agreed with them. But now…

    My mother is very conservative, but she hates bad manners. (She can’t stand Rush Limbaugh and his ilk). I haven’t asked her what she thought about Joe Wilson specifically; but since she said that as long as the shouters are running the party, she’s not going to listen to the Republicans. I’m guessing Wilson didn’t earn his party any points from her. My dad isn’t supporting them either. He can tolerate the bad manners, but the blithering stupidity of the birthers drives him nuts. He barely mentions politics to me anymore because he’s been so embarrassed by them and by the rank incompetence of the previous administration.

    I guess what I’m saying in such a round-about way is: Yes, I think you’re right.

  • bubbles

    I look at it this way… I’ll support the Republicans on this issue when they convince me that their plan is preferable. I’m not particularly passionate about healthcare reform, and my plan probably won’t change a bit if current proposals go through. But I don’t see how maintaining the status quo on healthcare is preferable, unless you’re an insurance company executive or lobbyist. I see it as a simple chance to extend accessible healthcare to more people. Yes it costs taxpayer money to do this – – but every other developed country on Earth does it and we already spend far more on completely useless endeavors, so I don’t see how it hurts. If those of us who have decent healthcare won’t be particularly affected by reform, and those who do not can better access it, then I say it works.

    The Republicans just aren’t offering any alternatives, and haven’t made the case that reform would be a bad idea. The only argument seems to be against spending and paranoid propoganda about bureaucrats running your doctor’s office. Those of us who follow the situation know that this is complete BS.

    So of course the GOP doesn’t have the popular support. They aren’t offering any popular solutions.

  • Chris

    I’d vote for a republican if one came along that wasn’t a douche-nozzle. But since that hasn’t happened yet, I’ll vote for the lesser of two evils.

  • http://centristcoalition.com/blog/ kranky kritter

    Consider the question “who is to blame if healthcare reform is not passed?”

    How do you answer this question if you yourself happen to think the reform on the table will not improve things? (not nec my opinion, btw)

    I’ll tell you. You have to say that you “blame” opponents for the “failure.”

    This is a great example of a biased question because it presumes that passage equals success, regardless of the content of of the reform. Now, many Americans believe this. But we know that at least a third or more do NOT presume this.

    I do not support reform for its own sake. I’ll support whatever reform makes it to a vote if and only if I believe that it will improve things for average folks. If there is a solid case that it will not, I won’t support it. Especially if the details on how we pay for it and WHO will pay for it are sketchy and unconvincing and founded on suspect projections and assumptions.

    And I am certain that I am not alone in thinking this. There are plenty of folks with me.

    Your framing of this issue continues to feel like an insult to my intelligence. You continue to insist that we must do something, but your arguments for why this is true are unfailingly weak and unconvincing. I agree with you basically about the need for recission reform, but recission is not at the core of issues of cost and coverage.

  • Chris

    The current reform on the table sucks, if I think it sucks when it gets finalized I’ll be contacting our state senators to vote against it. I personally don’t need any reform because all of my health care is paid for by the state. But the state paying 1400 a month for insurance per person is ridiculous. That’s where reform is needed, we’re paying out the asshole and the only way that we’re guaranteed care is if we have a giant organization behind us. That’s where reform is needed.

  • http://brushfires2008.com Fielding J. Hurst

    Well, I for one am worn out with all of the people who have lost their frickin’ minds over Obama.

    I would like to see Ron Paul denounce Glenn Beck. I wonder if he has lost some balls since he has gotten a lot of attention lately and his son is running for senate. Beck was against Dr. Paul when it counted.

  • http:[email protected] Shay

    The Democrats don’t need a single Republican vote to pass whatever health care legislation that they wish to pass, which clearly a majority of the American public is unaware of here. It is Democrats who are blocking whatever the president wants to do. If there’s so much public support, then why haven’t they passed it already?

  • Chris

    Shay, just because the democrats possibly have enough votes to pass it themselves doesn’t mean that the republicans have no responsibility. If no republican votes for it, obviously they’re blocking it. Please. Don’t try to pass off that bullshit on us.

  • wj

    Yes, the current faces of the Republican Party are driving away the independents. But what is even worse is what they are doing to the less fanatically conservative members of their own party. I have been a registered Republican for decades; and I think I’m fairly conservative. And I haven’t found a party that I find significantly more appealing overall — or maybe I’m still in denial or something.

    But I have reached the point that I have to assume that a Republican candidate in the general election (just by virtue of having made it thru the party primary successfully) is probably going to be so extremely conservative that the Democrat may well be closer to my positions on the issues. At least, until I see something specific to lead me to believe that an individual Republican candidate is actually a sensible human being. And there certainly are some out there . . . but it increasingly appears that they have to get d*mn lucky to make it thru the filter of the Republican primary.

  • http://www.donklephant.com Justin Gardner

    Chris, cool it with the language. You know the rules.

  • http://www.iconicmidwest.blogspot.com Rich Horton

    From Rasmussen:

    Just 41% of voters nationwide now favor the health care reform proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. That’s down two points from a week ago and the lowest level of support yet measured. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56% are opposed to the plan.

    I guess Rasmussen is just part of the VRWC.

  • blackoutyears

    I thought Rasmussen had been pretty definitively dismissed as having a clear right-wing bias, and not just by liberals. I’ll assume that’s feigned sarcasm on your part.

  • http://www.iconicmidwest.blogspot.com Rich Horton

    Here is the Rasmussen question:

    Generally speaking, do you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and the congressional Democrats?

    If you can find bias there, well, you truly are a magician.

  • blackoutyears

    Rich, one question does not a prevailing sentiment debunk. And I believe it’s the assertion that Rasmussen uses far more self-professed Republicans in its surveys that damns it, not whether or not the questions are phrased in neutral language. Non-partisan criticisms include survey answers being logged via touchpad and the fact that their surveys are robo-calls, not live interviewers. But hey, keep telling yourself you’re the only sane person in the room. If I may ask a personal question, what causes your continued frequenting of donklephant? You’re an arch-conservative of highly predictable mien. What could you possibly find useful about this blog?

  • http://ShadowofDiogenes.blogs.com/shadow/ Paul

    Who can we really trust ? Our politicians seem in many cases to be in someone’s pocket or the lackey of a special interest group. It’s damned discouraging and often we see virulent partisan politics and animosity and the pundits stirring it all up. And we have people like Kimbaugh, Beck, Maddow,Olbermann ans O’Reilly telling us what is right and wrong. No wonder so few people vote anymore !

  • Chris

    So few people have voted for a long time, and if I remember right, more people came to the polls the last two elections than usual.

  • superdestroyer

    Until someone have prove that the Republicans are relevant to the politics process of the U.S., what people think or do not think of them is irrelevant.

    The only question on health care is what the Democrats in Congress and the Administration want to do and what they willing to take the blame for.

  • Chris


    They’re relevant because a couple votes from them could make up for the couple votes that the democrats won’t give. They’re relevant because they still represent rural people, who most likely are under or not insured or don’t have adequate access to health care.

  • http://libertyhandbook.com Kevin @ The Liberty Handbook

    The only way to really find out what the people think is to watch how they vote in 2010. The may not trust Republicans more, but I bet you they’ll give them another chance.

  • superdestroyer


    That does not make the Republican Party relevant to politics. If serving as a foil for the Democratic Party is the only way to appear relevant, the the even more irrelevant than most people believe.

    Any Republican in the Senate who votes with the Democrats is setting themselves up to serve as the scapegoat. for any future failures. Any Republican vote gives the Democrats the excuse that they had to adjust the bill to get that Republican vote and that is why it is over budget, under performing, etc.

  • Chris

    I agree with all of that, but it doesn’t make them irrelevant as members of congress. Maybe the republican party is irrelevant, and that’s what you mean.

  • http://centristcoalition.com/blog/ kranky kritter

    Wingnuts in the 2-party dance love to claim the other side is irrelevant via whatever argument they can slap together. But let’s face it, such a claim can’t rise above comic hyperbole unless the other side has been so beaten as to hold only a handful of seats.

    The GOP holds 40 seats in the senate. That makes them quite relevant unless the democratic party can achieve unanimity. Who wants to bet the democrats will achieve unanimity? Anyone? Bueller?

  • http://detroitskeptic.com/blogs Nick Benjamin


    Unanimity on a final bill is unlikely. What we really need is unanimity opposing a GOP Filibuster, and that is possible. Maybe not with a public option, but no Democrat’s self-interest is served by being the guy liberals blame for defeat on health reform. If you’re that guy you ain’t winning a Democratic primary anytime soon.


    The Democrats don’t need a single Republican vote to pass whatever health care legislation that they wish to pass, which clearly a majority of the American public is unaware of here. It is Democrats who are blocking whatever the president wants to do. If there’s so much public support, then why haven’t they passed it already?

    The filibuster-proof majority only existed for a month. Then Ted Kennedy had to go off and die. Now he’s been replaced, but Health Care has to be paid for so it has to go through the Conservative Finance Committee.

    And that takes awhile.

  • http://centristcoalition.com/blog/ kranky kritter

    What’s your source that the GOP will even filibuster? Remember, they’d need unanimity, too. And if they do that, they could easily be cast as the bad guys.

    The campaign on healthcare reform is playing out on tv now, with ads and so on. I’ve seen the increase lately so we know that “it’s on!” The positions the parties and their factions take as a vote on a bill approaches will depend on who wins the war for public opinion.

    So I don’t expect the GOP to try to filibuster unless they think they already have the democrats on the run, public opinion wise. If opinion is close, they might eschew a filibuster, saying they don’t have the votes. Thus they force the democrats to pass a bill that’s all-democrat, and then the GOP can run in 2010 against whatever passes.