Latest unbiased Rasmussen Poll

Health Care Reform
Opposition to Health Care Plan Hits New High of 56%
Friday, September 18, 2009 Email to a Friend ShareThis.Advertisement

Fifty-six percent (56%) of voters nationwide now oppose the health care reform proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. Thatís the highest level of opposition yet measured and includes 44% who are Strongly Opposed.

Just 43% now favor the proposal, including 24% who Strongly Favor it.

But the overall picture remains one of stability. While the numbers have bounced a bit following nationally televised appearances by the president to promote the plan, opposition has generally stayed above 50% since early July. Support has been in the low to mid 40s.

The number who Strongly Oppose the plan has remained above 40% and the Strongly Favor totals have been in the mid-20s. This suggests public opinion is hardening when it comes to the plan that is currently working its way through Congress.

However, now just 48% say that health care reform plan is at least somewhat likely to pass this year, a figure that has been trending down in recent days.

That figure includes 17% who say passage is Very Likely.

Rasmussen Reports has been tracking support for the health care plan on a daily basis since the president's speech to Congress last week intended to revitalize the troubled initiative. Given the seemingly settled nature of this week's findings, we will now begin to track support for the plan on a weekly basis (see day-by-day numbers).

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

While many credit or blame the town hall protests for building opposition to the plan, it appears they were simply a reflection of public opinion rather than a creator of it.

This sense is confirmed by the fact that Obamaís approval ratings fell more in June and July before stabilizing in August.

One thing that did change during the month of August is that public perception of the protesters improved. after the initial shock wore off. Most voters came to believe that the purpose of the town hall meetings was for members of Congress to listen rather than speak.

Thatís partly because just 22% believe Congress has a good understanding of the legislation.

[B]While some Democrats have charged that opposition to the presidentís plan is based upon racism, just 12% of voters agree. [/B

Prior to the president's speech, most people with insurance said itís likely they would be forced to change coverage if the plan passes. As Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, wrote recently in the Wall Street Journal: ďThe most important fundamental is that 68% of American voters have health insurance coverage they rate good or excellent Ö Most of these voters approach the health care reform debate fearing that they have more to lose than to gain.Ē

If the plan passes, 26% of voters say the quality of care will get better, and 51% say it will get worse. In August, the numbers were 23% better and 50% worse.

Fifty-one percent (51%) say passage of the plan will make the cost of health care go up while 20% say it will make costs go down. In August, 52% thought the plan would lead to higher costs, and just 17% thought it would achieve the stated goal of lowering costs.

Voters overwhelmingly believe that every American should be able to buy the same health insurance plan that Congress has. Most favor limits on jury awards for medical malpractice claims and think that tort reform will significantly reduce the cost of health care. Forty-eight percent (48%) want a prohibition on abortion in any government subsidized program while 13% want a mandate requiring abortion coverage.

The health care debate has produced a difficult political environment for Democrats.

Several incumbent Democratic senators currently are behind in their reelection bids including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada, Chris Dodd in Connecticut and Michael Bennet in Colorado. Republicans appear to have a better shot than expected at hanging on to the New Hampshire Senate seat, and GOP incumbent Richard Burr leads in North Carolina.

Democrats also trail in the 2009 governorís races in New Jersey and Virginia.

Sounds like the people are speaking to me!

The health care debate has become one focal point for voters frustrated by a string of government actions. Voters overwhelmingly opposed the bailout of the financial industry and the bailout and takeover of General Motors