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Obama and health care – how low can he go?

Posted By Drew Zahn On 03/20/2010 @ 4:13 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled

Barack Obama’s all-in push for government overhaul of health care, a national pollster states, is driving the sitting president’s approval ratings to all-time lows, where more people now “strongly disapprove” of the job Obama’s doing than “strongly” or even “somewhat approve” … combined.

“Each time the President leads a big push for his health-care plan, his job approval ratings suffer,” concludes the newest Rasmussen Reports poll.

Breaking down the numbers, 44 percent of the likely voters surveyed by Rasmussen strongly disapprove of Obama’s performance in office, while only 23 percent strongly approve, netting a Presidential Approval Index score of -21.

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Even worse news for the White House, however, comes when adding in those that “somewhat approve” of Obama’s performance. Only 43 percent of “somewhat” and “strongly approve” combined give the president a favorable rating, matching Obama’s lowest numbers yet and totaling less than the 44 percent who most strongly disapprove.

The -21 score on Obama’s Presidential Approval Index – derived from the difference between those that strongly approve and strongly disapprove – matches his worst ever, while the most recent poll marks only the second time in this presidency more respondents fell into the “strongly disapprove” category than “somewhat approve” and “strongly approve” combined.

When comparing apples to apples, a total of 56 percent at least somewhat disapprove to 43 percent who at least somewhat approve – a steep fall from the day after Obama’s inauguration, when 65 percent approved and only 30 percent disapproved.

Rasmussen links the falling poll numbers to widespread opposition to the president’s current push for health-care reform legislation. According to the pollster’s other surveys:

  • Eighty-one percent of voters believe the health care plan will cost more than projected
  • Seventy-eight percent believe it at least somewhat likely that taxes will have to be raised on the middle class to cover the cost of health-care reform
  • Sixty-six percent believe health-care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats is likely to increase the federal deficit
  • Fifty-seven percent say the health-care plan being pushed through Congress will hurt the U.S. economy
  • Fifty percent say they are less likely to vote for their representative in Congress if he or she supports the president’s health-care plan (compared to 34 percent more likely)
  • Only 20 percent of voters believe that most members of Congress will even understand the proposed health-care bill before they vote on it.

Rasmussen collects its daily presidential approving results via telephone surveys of 500 likely voters per night, reported on a three-day, rolling-average basis, thus accounting for 1,500 respondents’ opinions.


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