Listen Carefully, Folks: One Poll Does Not A Trend Make

The liberal blogosphere and even commenters who lean left here were trumpeting a new poll released earlier this week that showed the public in favor of the health care reforms passed Sunday after months and months of polling showing the public as consistently opposed.  It is not surprising that the health care reforms would get a boost after non-stop, largely non-critical coverage from the traditional liberal media that featured the virtual deification of President Obama and Speaker Pelosi.  It would have been a shock if there was no bump. 

Nevertheless, CBS News released a poll today that shows that all the champagne bottle popping may have been a bit premature:

A CBS News poll released Wednesday finds that nearly two in three Americans want Republicans in Congress to continue to challenge parts of the health care reform bill.

…The poll finds that 62 percent want Congressional Republicans to keep challenging the bill, while 33 percent say they should not do so. Nearly nine in ten Republicans and two in three independents want the GOP to keep challenging. Even 41 percent of Democrats support continued challenges.

…[T]here was significant disapproval for the bill. Forty-six percent say they disapprove, including 32 percent who strongly disapprove. Those numbers have barely moved since before the bill was signed.

Americans also did not significantly change their views on the impact of the bill. Thirty percent still say it will make the health care system better, while 33 percent say it will make the system worse.

They have also held relatively firm in their perceptions of how the bill will effect them. Sixteen percent say the bill will “mostly help,” while 35 percent say it will “mostly hurt.”

Note that this poll was conducted post-passage, and think about this summary: a large majority want Republicans to challenge the bill.  More voters than not disapprove of the bill, think it will make the system worse, and think it will hurt them personally.

That’s not an endorsement – not by the longest of shots. 

What makes this poll more meaningful than the one showing health care reform favored?  Nothing, if considered in isolation.  However, this poll is much more consistent with a long line of polls stretching back months.  It is, in other words, part of a trend, with the earlier poll an outlier.

Now, that could change – maybe there WAS a significant post-passage bump, and a new trend has begun, and it is THIS poll that will prove to be the outlier – but that’s speculation at this point.  Further polling will confirm or deny the bounce.  It’s a sure sign of partisanship, however, when a single poll is trumpeted and an ocean of contrary ones ignored. 

I’ll keep an eye on further polling, and if a new course is indicated, I won’t shrink from acknowledging it…

7 comments to Listen Carefully, Folks: One Poll Does Not A Trend Make

  • Nate Silver has a good analysis of Gallup vs other pollsters.

  • It’s a fair piece…thanks for the link. I want to stress again I’m not in denial here – there may very well be a bounce, and it may last…but it will take further polling to confirm or deny…

  • Also, I grant that we have few data points post-passage, but this chart from Pollster.com indicates public opinion has remained pretty flat for months…

  • Bob from Ohio

    Quinnipiac Poll:

    Despite passage of his signature health reform bill, President Barack Obama still gets a split 45 – 46 percent approval from American voters in a Quinnipiac University national poll conducted Monday and Tuesday, compared to a negative 46 – 49 percent approval in a survey concluded Sunday before the House of Representatives voted on the health care bill. These are President Obama’s worst grades so far, tying his 45 – 46 percent approval February 11.

    American voters mostly disapprove of the health care reform 49 – 40 percent, compared to 54 – 36 percent before the vote . . .

    By a 38 – 25 percent margin, voters are less likely to vote for House members who voted for the health care bill, with 34 percent who say the health care vote won’t affect their decision.

    By a 33 – 27 percent margin, voters are more likely to vote for House members who voted against the health care bill, with 35 percent who say the health care vote won’t affect their decision.

    “The first read from the voters is that they are more inclined to punish those lawmakers who voted for the health care overhaul than reward them,” Brown said. “This is a key question. Whether and how these numbers change in the next seven months will tell us whether, in fact, this will be the kind of November Republicans are hungering for and Democrats are dreading.”

  • Bob from Ohio

    The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey, conducted on the first two nights after the president signed the bill, shows that 55% favor repealing the legislation. Forty-two percent (42%) oppose repeal. Those figures include 46% who Strongly Favor repeal and 35% who Strongly Oppose it.

    In terms of Election 2010, 52% say they’d vote for a candidate who favors repeal over one who does not. Forty-one percent (41%) would cast their vote for someone who opposes repeal.

    Not surprisingly, Republicans overwhelmingly favor repeal while most Democrats are opposed. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 59% favor repeal, and 35% are against it.

    Most senior citizens (59%) also favor repeal. Earlier, voters over 65 had been more opposed to the health care plan than younger adults. Seniors use the health care system more than anyone else.

  • Bob from Ohio

    2 to 1, we win right? Political fail!

    Seriously, the way to tell if Obamacare is popular or not is to look at state specific candidate polls. If Dems start polling better in Senate and House races (not generic ballots) the next month or so, then it was a political win for them.

  • Amy

    The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey, conducted on the first two nights after the president signed the bill, shows that 55% favor repealing the legislation. Forty-two percent (42%) oppose repeal. Those figures include 46% who Strongly Favor repeal and 35% who Strongly Oppose it.

    In terms of Election 2010, 52% say they’d vote for a candidate who favors repeal over one who does not. Forty-one percent (41%) would cast their vote for someone who opposes repeal.

    Not surprisingly, Republicans overwhelmingly favor repeal while most Democrats are opposed. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 59% favor repeal, and 35% are against it.

    Most senior citizens (59%) also favor repeal. Earlier, voters over 65 had been more opposed to the health care plan than younger adults. Seniors use the health care system more than anyone else.

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