Although the President told us a few months ago that his focus would be fully on the country’s economy and reining in government spending, here we are again consumed by the health care debate.  What gives?

Certainly, the President and Democrats are devoting some time to dealing with economy and the federal budget deficit…but, not enough.  And, as they continue to put health care reform at the top of the agenda here are some nuggets of public opinion they might want to keep in mind.

Despite Democrats’ claim that passing health care reform will help reduce the budget  deficit, just 17% of the public believes that to be true.  Meanwhile, three-quarters of Americans believe if the current health care legislation becomes law it will make the federal deficit worse (58%) or make no difference to it (17%).*

Eight-in-ten (81%) Americans are worried the federal debt will harm the financial future of their children and grandchildren (including 50% who are “very worried”).**

In fact, virtually all Americans are angry or bothered by the growing federal deficit.***


Despite these clear concerns, the President is doing little to garner favor among the American public on this issue.  A majority (52%) disapprove of the job President Obama is doing in handling the budget deficit, while just over one-third (36%) approve.**

Perhaps it’s no surprise then, that the public gives the edge to the Republican Party (42%) over the Democratic Party (36%) when it comes to reducing the federal budget deficit.  But, what may be of more concern to President Obama and Democrats is that the last time we saw data like this it was in 1994 – prior to the Republican sweep election.***


*NBC/WSJ national survey conducted January 10-14, 2010 among 1,002 adults.

**GfK Roper national survey conducted January 12-17, 2010 among 1,008 adults.

***Pew Research national survey conducted February 3-9, 2010 among 1,383 adults

(Public Opinion Strategies partners with Peter D. Hart Research Associates to conduct the NBC/WSJ polls. Neither Peter D. Hart Research Associates nor NBC/WSJ are responsible for these conclusions.)

Public Opinion Strategies