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The Most Important Number in Politics Today


That's the percentage of people in the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll who disapprove of the way President Barack Obama is handling health care as compared to 41 percent who approve of his handling of the issue.

Those numbers closely resemble where President Bill Clinton stood on the issue in June 1994 -- 43 percent approve/47 percent disapprove -- just months before the plan died an ignominious legislative death in the Senate.

The data also lands amid signs of progress -- House Democrats seem to have struck a deal to bring a health care proposal to a vote in the fall -- but also of a weakening in Obama's poll numbers more broadly.

With more voters disapproving than approving of the way Obama is handling health care, the next month becomes even more critical to the White House's hopes of passing a bill that is regarded as real, meaningful and positive reform by the American public.

The modus operandi of the Obama Administration to date has been to leverage the personal popularity of the chief executive to convince the American public of the rightness of his more controversial proposals -- most notably passage of the $787 billion economic stimulus package.

But, with an American public who is deeply divided over whether Obama is doing the right thing to bring about change in the health care system, it remains to be seen whether that strategic approach, which will almost certainly be on display over the next month, will be as effective.

If Obama becomes a flawed messenger on health care in the eyes of the American public -- he's not there yet but the NBC/WSJ numbers suggest he is not in nearly as a strong a position as he once was -- then the ability of the White House to deliver the sort of plan they want becomes significantly compromised.

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 30, 2009; 12:33 PM ET
Categories:  Most Important Number  
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why does there have to be soo much ignorance in the repulbicain party?its clear to me they dont care about anything or the american people.sure they have good healthcare,the system is great for them!their fear mongering and making up lies about health care reform is now starting to be de-bunked on web sites.but dont they realize that when we find out that their scare tatics are lies it just makes them look bad and that they are just playing games with the american people's healthcare do they care?i think i think its up to all of us who need this to pass to wait and see whats going to be in the reform and give the president our support and stand with him!he is trying to help americans and not push us out of the way like the bush admin.did and like the GOPis doing now!i think its just pure politics that they want this to fail its because they dont care about us!dont listen to the fear mongering GOPlets stand up with our president and give him a chance now!!!

Posted by: crystalroses58 | August 2, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Numbers change. Change you can believe in. Post numbers look fine for the moment. They could look better. News Corpse on Wall Street looks like a big bloody mess heading down under. I'm just a tour guide, so don't blame me. I have change in my pocket.

Posted by: Dermitt | July 31, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Barack HOOVER Obama.

Posted by: JakeD | July 31, 2009 1:23 AM | Report abuse

Democrap Socialist


Why are so many on the right so very childish?

You hardly ever see a lefty doing this juvie crap.

Y'think maybe ... naaah!

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 31, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

I think the message is clear there will not be health insurance reform that will have any significance from my standpoint unless Obama starts campaigning against his opponent which is the health insurers who have a monopoly and are strangling the people. Enough of this good guy nonsense, they are the problem and they need to be attacked.

Posted by: Gator-ron | July 30, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

I have a question about polls taken this early in a term, when the question seems to be "Do you like ...? Yes, more people dislike what they perceive to be Obama's health care package, and some other programs, but how many of them dislike it because it goes to far, and how many dislike it because it doesn't go far enough?

Consider the candidate who has the exact middle of the electorate cornered he has a 40% yes on the will you vote for candidate C question, and a 60% no, but he will win every time because the Rightmost 30% isn't likely to vote with the leftmost 30% to defeat him.

If you must report such a number, it needs three values. With the President, against the President because he is too much, and against the President because he is not enough.

By the way, the noy enough crowd will go with the president in the end as long as he can make his case that even HE thought he didn't get enough, but he got what he could, and given better support will get more next time. Therein lie the seeds of a second term landslide with extensive coattails.

So please be more rigorous with your terms.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 30, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the 46% should use their brains and not allow themselves to be duped by the GOP, who have freely admitted they will do anything to "break" Obama. Go ahead, America, vote against your own interests...again. It all worked so well under Reagan and Bush.

Posted by: soonerthought | July 30, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse


I'm familiar with these numbers--and there's no denying that they're going in the wrong direction, but here's a different slant:

Are those people who disapprove a combination of those who feel the President isn't doing enough arm-twisting as well as those who feel he's 'overreaching', or is it made up of those who simply disapprove of his health care priorities in toto?

Additionally, doesn't it strike you that there's a lot of frustration amongst the general public/the poll respondents in that they're asked to give an opinion on something that doesn't yet exist? All those Committee Bills still have to be marked up and combined into final form in both the Senate and the House--that's like asking the public what kind of car they would want several years down the road.

Posted by: sverigegrabb | July 30, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Senator John Cornyn (R-Tx) loves coming to the LRGV and promising a VA hospital - if government programs are a failure why then does he want to push this failure on veterans? - for the most part VA hospitals are failures because they are teaching hospitals - 11 years of doctors in training misdiagnosing me and dismissing me - only after I nearly drowned in the Gulf of Mexico when I lost use of my legs was I given access to real doctors - I am now receveing treatment.

Why is Cornyn not backing this new clinic with is a success? Answer because like every other politico he goes with the winds and says what he needs to say to get votes

Bobby WC

Posted by: bobbywc | July 30, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I would echo the sentiments expressed by posters that Obama is being portrayed as a leftist by the conservative posters, here. Quite honestly, he acts exactly like a Republican. His economic policies are no different than Bush's (or Clinton before him). That is why he is such a complete disaster and why he is failing. The voters seem to understand this, which explains why Obama's poll loses are not benefiting Republican's.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | July 30, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Obama and the Democrap Socialist Parties poll numbers are slowly but surely droppeng like a rock because the American people have figured out that what they're doing is changing our government from a Representative Republic to a Communist Socialist government--uber--alles one, and they don't like it. Come the 2010's mid term elections, when a lot of Obama's bills come due, the unemployment numbers is in the 12%-15% range, the taxes and inflation in the strathosphere, the deficit 4 times higher than what they were in the Bush years, there'll be a bloodbath for the Communist Obama administration. By then even the Democrap Socialist--controlled Main Stream Media will have figured it out. When even James Carville say's that the Republicans could very well take back congress in the 2010 elections, as he did, it's looking good for Republicans and Americas Constitution and the freedoms we've had until this Communist gang took over.

Posted by: armpeg | July 30, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I agree with bsimon1 that Obama is not the 'left loony' or 'lib moonbat' the conservative posters here try to present him as. When he was in the opposition party Obama was more radical than he is now. Being in a position of power, he has moderated. These are the classic roles of the opposition party and the ruling party.
The public needs to recognise that the GOP is now the radical party and reject the foolishness of many of their positions, and realise that since the day they elected Obama and his platform he now represents what is moderate.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | July 30, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

"Who gets to define 'center'? I think you're way off - the Obama admin is fairly close to the center - as evidenced by the more liberal wing getting ticked off at single-payer not making the cut in healthcare reform. To pick one example."

The way that the two houses of Congress are made up now, bipartisan as defined by having a whole lot of Ds and Rs is just ridiculous. The Democrats are so broad range and the Republicans are so extremist today that you've achieved bipartisanship simply through the Democrats. Yeah, if you're marking up a tally sheet, all the marks will be under one column, but in terms of the breadth of American society, the Democrats have most of it covered.

Given the fact that Republicans are happy to filibuster just about anything, getting 60 Democrats to agree on a bill is very bipartisan. Not in the Washington definition of bipartisan, but in the standard that a broad range of interests are being served. If you can get Pat Leahy and Mary Landrieu to agree on something, that's plenty bipartisan right there.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 30, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Bobby WC and shrink2:

And that's what really happens when Bureaucrats run the systems, instead of for-profit accountants.

Posted by: sourpuss | July 30, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I cannot speak to every doctor who works in the public sector, but for the VA doctors in our Harlingen, Texas clinic they have it good.

My doctor believed I needed an MRI - it was ordered and performed right away - the films are in the computer so any VA doctor in the country can look at them. The pain management guy in San Antonio chose not to trust the interpretation of the radiologist and found the problem. Boom I am being treated with specialized injections. (well starting next week ( gabapentin is a miracle drug btw)

My doctor orders any lab work - done no one to second quess her - I need to see a specialist - she sends a referral to the specialist in the clinic and boom I have an appointment - no delay no one and I mean no one second guessing my PCP

The government and States need to look at this great model - everyone is on salary - almost no paperwork and appointments come fast.

If I were a doctor I would love to be able to treat my patients without endless paperwork and people second quessing my work - I think these VA doctors love this clinic - they certainly love the veterans

Bobby WC

Posted by: bobbywc | July 30, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Bobby WC:

One solution to the shortage of doctors taking new Medicaid patients:

"If you want to practice medicine here, you can not turn down Medicaid patients unles at least 20% of your patient load is Medicare recipients" (or whatever percentage would be required - I haven't done the math).

If that were included in the licensing requirements, the doctors wouldn't be able to cherry-pick, as they do now.

Posted by: sourpuss | July 30, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

sourpuss (?!)

You are correct, very few of us who work in the public sector are in private practice.
It seems sort of obvious, it is just right there in those words public and private.

We are salaried, paid by the agencies which manage the public option. It is not entirely different from the way docs are paid who work for the not (in your dreams!) for profit hospitals and HMOs. Someone else decides whom we treat, a whole nother topic.

So if "reform" were to happen, the number of docs in the fee for service private practice model would certainly decline.

In fact, if I were to go to private practice right now, there is no way I would work with the people I work with now (VA, Medicaid, Medicare and of course, indigent).

Doctors who own their own practices make a lot more money when they avoid working with people with Medicaid and Medicare because the programs are 'adversely selected'. That is what has to change.

Right now, if M&M paid the way the Blues do, well even China could not afford to buy that much of our future.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 30, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse


I do not doubt there are places, especially a place like Northern Virginia wherein this is a problem - but is the problem the medicaid or an overwhelming of patients.

This child lives in the Lower Rio Grande Valley but must travel 5 hours for a pediatric psychiatrist - the only non-VA psychiatrist we have is overwhelmed and may not be helping anyone because he is so overwhelmed - I guess my point is - is the problem medicaid or a shortage of qualified psychiatrists - here in the LRGV we simply do not have enough and we are desperate for a pediatric psychiatrist

Bobby WC

Posted by: bobbywc | July 30, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

shrink2...I want Obama to come out swinging against the Virginia Foxxes, Betsy McCaugheys and the for-profit insurance companies and their lobbyists. He needs to say that those people are lying to the American people and using scare tactics to stop progress.

Posted by: jillcohen | July 30, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

@shrink2 - You're welcome to use it here and elsewhere. I get royalties, right? :-)


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 30, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

To Bobby WC:

Yes it's better for those who need in-patient services (especially pediatric patients) and for VA care (a great socialist system).

It may be different down there, but our experience shows that >95% of the Northern Virginia Medicaid-listed psychiatrists aren't taking new patients. And it's not just our one case. My wife runs a NAMI support group for family members of "Mental Illness Service Consumers", and the problem seems to be universal here.

Posted by: sourpuss | July 30, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me, people have been conditioned to panic when they hear "socialized medicine".

But these same people breathe sigh a relief when they aren't stuck with their (or their elderly parents') medical bills thanks to Medicare.

I'd like to see a poll question phrased along the lines of - "should Medicare be extended to partially cover working people?" THEN let's see where we truly stand.

Posted by: molsonmich | July 30, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse


you are wrong - I know a medicaid child who two days ago was acceptable as a patient in one of he best pediatric psychiatry facilities in the country - it is better than summer camp - except that have to be there.

The psychiatrist who serves veterans in the Lower rio grande is amazing - painting with a broad brush because of what was probably a bad experience for you is never a wise argument

Bobby WC

Posted by: bobbywc | July 30, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

@2:10, shrink2 says
"Meanwhile, we know the public option already exists for many, many people, specifically, the elderly, the disabled, wards of the state and the indigent."

Sounds good, but a "shrink" should know betteer. Try to find a decent psychiatrist that is accepting new Medicaid patients. Particularly if the patient is in need of more aggressive treatment than just prescription management.

There are a lot of names on the list, but most of them aren't accepting new Medicaid patients.

Posted by: sourpuss | July 30, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

farlingtonblade writes
"I just hope that there is focus of the deficit in the second half of his first term."

Me too. But its not yet the primary concern.

When GDP resumes growth, the deficit will start shrinking relative to GDP - whether we make an effort to pay it down or not.

Focusing on the deficit now would be repeating the FDR mistake.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 30, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I love the fact everyone is an expert on the economies of healthcare - the system is broken - the fraud is massive - the fraud will not end until we take profit out the equation.

Government healthcare can work - I use the VA - the VA San Antonio is a nightmare - but getting better - teaching hospitals will always be failure.

BUT HERE IN SOUTH TEXAS we have a new VA system - a clinic with highly experienced clinicians. We no longer have to travel 5 hours to San Antonio. (most of the time - I will start travelling next week for specialized treatment on my spine)

The new model for the delivery of healthcare to veterans in South Texas is great - it works - as a veteran I oppose building a VA teaching hospital in South Texas - we are sharing resources with local hospitals - it works and is cost effective.

Maybe we need a system wherein the federal government allows the States to experiment with a variety of programs.

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: bobbywc | July 30, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Many liberals were also unhappy with the Sotomayor pick - that she's not liberal enough.

GOP leadership has moved so far out of the mainstream that 'center' relative to them is in the slackwater on the right bank.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 30, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

It was a bit of a stretch to suggest that Jefferson -- caught on tape demanding financial payouts and caught on film taking $100,000 from an FBI informant -- was just doing what other lawmakers do.


In fact, most Lib lawmakers do.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 30, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

vbhoomes writes
"I do want most of his domestic policies to fail if he makes no effort to move towards the center."

Who gets to define 'center'? I think you're way off - the Obama admin is fairly close to the center - as evidenced by the more liberal wing getting ticked off at single-payer not making the cut in healthcare reform. To pick one example.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 30, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

R's are against everything Obama does and always will be, because the only thing they care about is making him fail. Doesn't matter how much it hurts the country -- they don't care.

Posted by: drindl | July 30, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse


• Obama agenda, rule of law subverted by fed-enabled, nationwide grassroots vigilante "Gestapo" that has co-opted, compromised local law enforcement and health care facilities.

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled): RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 30, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

"Right now, the U.S. and China are like a co-dependent couple. One of us is going to have to sober up soon."

I love this line! Perfect. I am going to use it again and again, with your permission and of course, not here.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 30, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

@vbhoomes - Exactly so. That's why I called it payback. Obama voted against our nominees and so we're voting against his. Grassley and Hatch might as well be honest about it. All the long speeches about the august traditions of the Senate are so much posturing. I remember one Republican (Sessions I think) who talked a good game about filibusters before 2006 and now is a proponent.

They talked about principles when it was really about tactics (we have >50 and <60 votes so filibusters are immoral...) One thing I find refreshing about the boards here is that they're honest.

This isn't a one way thing by the way. The Dems are as ruthless about using their House majority as the Republicans were. I'm a big boy and can recognize two facedness when I see it.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 30, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

jillcohen are you saying Obama needs to do an in-America's-face speech (like the "race speech" which did seem to have saved him from Rev. Wright) or the wheels will come off?

If so, I think you are correct. He may be playing the "long game" at the wrong time.

This is such a big deal.

If he fails at health reform, his own rhetoric supports the notion that the economy will remain in an ever wider downward spiral, a circumstance in which, "the center can not hold."

Posted by: shrink2 | July 30, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Also, Alito (definite right leaner) was replacing O'Connor (middle to left leaner). It changed the make-up of the court. Bush's right to nominate and Obama's right to vote no. I can't wait for the next 2 or 3 appointments. That is the main reason I voted for Obama. The most impacting decisions made by the POTUS are his/her nominations to the SCOTUS. A right leaning court curtails individual rights.

Posted by: jillcohen | July 30, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

@bsimon - I think you've got it right (heh). The Republicans are playing checkers, Obama is playing chess. I think that's a reason for the big push right now. 2010 will probably be a difficult year for the Democrats. The calendar makes it possible to hold close to 60 seats in the Senate, but there will be significant losses in the House. Some of the seeds being planted now will only be sprouts next year.

I just hope that there is focus of the deficit in the second half of his first term. Right now, the U.S. and China are like a co-dependent couple. One of us is going to have to sober up soon.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 30, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

While it's true that Obama, the Democratic Congress, for that matter, are seeing increasing negative poll numbers, the Republicans ARE NOT benefitting. Republican's are seeing the negative pretty much unchanged and voters still blame much of the economic woes on Bush and them. At the same time, a significant *majority* of voters think the Democrats could be doing more to fix that mess but, instead, are making it worse. Essentially, voters are choosing "none of the above".

Posted by: mibrooks27 | July 30, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

vbhoomes...our last Supreme Court nominee is a pro-business judicial activist for the right-wing. I'm glad Obama voted no.

Posted by: jillcohen | July 30, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Once again, the dumb people are believing the crap that repubs feed them. Just like in the run-up to the Iraq war and the lies about Saddam and WMD, the dumber part of the American public is very gullible. It is time for a forceful rebuttal to the lies and misconceptions that those who wish to enrich the insurance companies are spouting everyday.

Posted by: jillcohen | July 30, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I believe I speak for a lot of conservtives when we say we want Obama to succeed as our Commander-in-Chief. But I do want most of his domestic policies to fail if he makes no effort to move towards the center. FairlingtonBlade: I don't remember the dems voting enmass for our last supreme court nominee(Alito)I believe a President should have his pick as long as that person is qualified and Sotomayer is clearly qualified. But for those who vote no, they are simply applying the standard Obama used in voting against Alito. You can't have it both ways.

Posted by: vbhoomes | July 30, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Farlington Blade writes
"The Republican caucus in the Senate is united in trying to kill anything Obama proposes as they see health care took down the Dems in 1994 and they want a repeat.

So, the answer should be fine. We'll do it without you."

I think the President is still playing the long game. His opponents are focused on each battle. They look at today's polls and assume the trend will continue. They look at the Sotomayor vote as a victory. They look at the economic news and see disaster in the trailing indicators, and interpret good news for themselves.

Meanwhile, the WH is sticking to their plan, and trying to establish bipartisan solutions to healthcare, the economy and energy policy. They nominated a moderate to the court, and received nothing from the opposition. I think this can be described as giving them enough rope to hang themselves.

But when healthcare reform passes - and it will surely fall short of the reform that most people want - but it will be a step in the right direction. And when the economy comes around more visibly, people will be reasssured. And when Judge Sotomayor turns out to be a thoughtful moderate on the court, people will start wondering what all the fuss was about.

The GOP sees short term victories and thinks they're gaining ground, but in the long game, they are going to find themselves outwitted, overmatched and outgunned.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 30, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

You're right about that shrink, as an analysis. But I expect that the fact that people seem to be falling for this crazy sh*t rightwingers are spouting is really hurting his efforts. They are quite successfully scaring old people. Nasty and low, but seems to be working.

"Yesterday, during President Obama’s AARP town hall, a caller stated that she had “heard lots of rumors going around about this new plan.” “I have been told,” she continued, “there is a policy there that everyone that’s Medicare-age will be visited and told to decide how they wish to die.” This “rumor,” which seems to have been started by infamous health care provocateur Betsy McCaughey, has made its way into the standard conservative critique of the Democrats’ reforms."

Posted by: drindl | July 30, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

You have to go about 14 pages into the survey results to get a clue about the actual results.

Democrats hold poll advantages in the following areas:

- Dealing with health care, +17 points
- Getting the country out of a recession, +10 points
- Handling the economy, +6 points

Conversely, despite the advantage for Democrats on overall handling of the economy, Republican hold poll advantages for:

- Reducing the Federal deficit, +6
- Dealing with taxes, +7

Talk about sending mixed signals.

And on page 18 we find that the public, by a clear majority (53%), is concerned that Congress will add to the Federal deficit, and a plurality (36%) feel that Congress is too partisan.

Personally, Obama still gets mostly positive numbers, Hillary gets hugely positive numbers, Sonia Sotomayor has slightly better numbers that John Roberts did back in 2005, and Nancy Pelosi is the polling boat anchor of the Democratic Party with big negative numbers.

Interesting poll results, but unfortunately they still don't tell us *why* people are unhappy with the health care process.

Posted by: Gallenod | July 30, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

@Fairlingtonblade: excellent blog about raising Auties

Hi-jack over.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | July 30, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

It is desperation time, if Obama is successful, the Republican revival CC keeps hoping for may never happen. Rove changed the game, now no Republican can afford to care about bipartisanship.

Meanwhile, we know the public option already exists for many, many people, specifically, the elderly, the disabled, wards of the state and the indigent.

The unique to America system in which the low risk pool is managed on a for profit basis and the high risk pool is managed by the government is what a lot of people believe is causing the problem driving the reform effort. It is no surprise the companies with their names on stadiums do not want to compete with the systems of care that already know how to take care of really sick people - and we wouldn't even have to pay tons of money on advertising.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 30, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

vbhoomes...I don't care if health insurance reform passes 51-49 or 100-0, as long as it passes. The republicans are to blame for the lack of bipartisanship. Since the dawn of medicare the repubs have been on the side of insurers not Americans. If health insurance reform passes and it is successful then the repubs are in the wilderness for many years to come. They don't want the Dems to be the saviors of the middle-class. I say do whatever it takes. I didn't vote for Obama just so he could be led down the wrong path in the name of bipartisan bs. Don't fool yourself. Repubs don't want to see Obama succeed.

Posted by: jillcohen | July 30, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

@vbhoomes - The Republican caucus made the decision to go scorched earth, not Obama. Compare the vote totals for Ginsburg and Sotomayor. You think that's on the basis of "wise Latina woman"? As Col. Potter used to say, bull hockey! The vote on Sotomayor was payback for Obama's votes against Roberts and Alito. The Republican caucus in the Senate is united in trying to kill anything Obama proposes as they see health care took down the Dems in 1994 and they want a repeat.

So, the answer should be fine. We'll do it without you.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 30, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the poll should ask more than just approval. How many "disapprove" because they want more action and less negotiation?

Having said that, I do want this to succeed, so if polled I would say "approve" even if I do quibble with some of the details.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | July 30, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

So jillcohen, you would take it with a 51-49 vote in the Senate. I believe that is why Obama is having so much trouble, after promising us to be post-partisan, he made no effort to get a bi-partisan stimulas bill. He could've gotten a 450-500 billion stimulas package with a lot of money for highways and bridges, with significant votes in the both parties. But he chose the easier partisan route, now a lot of people simply no longer trust what he says.

Posted by: vbhoomes | July 30, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

vbhoomes writes
"it seems to me, you could regulate insurance companies a little tighter without going to the public option."

That's where the plan is going, at the moment. Where it ends up is anyone's guess; in both the Senate & House various committees are tweaking bills that weren't the same to start with. Each house will pass something, then reconciliation will be a restart of sorts to the whole process.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 30, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

"you're absolutely right. I know a number of liberal who would say they 'disapprove of the way obama is handling health care' -- because they think he's not going after the insurance industry hard enough."

Also, the word "handling" is kind of ambiguous. I don't have problems with what Obama would like in a health care bill, but I do think his selling of it is pretty awful.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 30, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Maybe respondents disapprove b/c it's taking too long and Obama is letting repubs have their lame say in the matter. If I was polled I would say I disapprove of his handling but not b/c I don't want reform, I want reform to happen now, thru reconciliation.

Posted by: jillcohen | July 30, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

"I believe most liberals want a single payer system but those in the Congress do not want to publicly admit it."

Obama has actually said this would be the best system, but doesn't feel it's realistic.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 30, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

In any reform effort, only the details matter. Right now there is no way to "follow the money"; how the details of the money flows will change is everything. Rhetoric and rumors and drafts are not nearly enough to figure whether what happens when the compromise bill is signed many weeks from now will be something to support.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 30, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I have never been a big fan of insurance companies because most of my dealings with them showed them at least to be unethical. But having said that, it seems to me, you could regulate insurance companies a little tighter without going to the public option. I believe most liberals want a single payer system but those in the Congress do not want to publicly admit it.

Posted by: vbhoomes | July 30, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Nodebris -- you're absolutely right. I know a number of liberal who would say they 'disapprove of the way obama is handling health care' -- because they think he's not going after the insurance industry hard enough.

It's just Cillizza leading another republican cheer. He seems to be quite obssessed with bringing the party back from the dead all by his lonesome -- now he's starting several posts a day with it.

Posted by: drindl | July 30, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

no debris,

great observation

Bobby WC

Posted by: bobbywc | July 30, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Disagree with the way he's handling it?

What does that mean, exactly? Does it have any policy component, or is it merely an opinion on strategy? And to the extent that it is the latter, what percent of those respondents disagree because they think Obama should be much more aggressive?

This number is very close to meaningless.

Posted by: nodebris | July 30, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

typical schizophrenic poll responses:

as The Fix notes, 46% disapproval of how Obama is handling health care reform; yet 40% trust the Dems more to handle health care reform (GOP: 23; Both: 15; Neither: 19).

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 30, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

When the bluedogs go home and catch a hearful, I bet that in the end, they will vote against the bill as currently written. If they vote for it, they will be out of a job and most if not all know it.

Posted by: vbhoomes | July 30, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Unfortately polls are driven by emotions and not facts, and far too many politicians are driven by polls.

Depending on the source Texas has 25-43 % of its population without insurance, but yet Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has stated she wants to remain in the Senate long enough to defeat healthcare before resigning to start her race for governor.

The polls are telling her the voters in Texas do not want it - at least those most likely to vote for her.

It is sad, but this is politics - in both Parties.

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: bobbywc | July 30, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse


You are reading everything you can, except for the actual House bill?

Posted by: JakeD | July 30, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

A topic that matters!

I wish I knew whether or not to support "health care reform", and I am reading everything I can on the topic.

I wonder, on what basis are Americans responding to pollsters in this regard?
Shouldn't we wait and see what these bills actually contain before we decide whether to support them?

Posted by: shrink2 | July 30, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

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