Health Care Reform: After Much Democrat Ado, Nothing.

Prior to the passage of health care reform the big question on everyone’s mind was whether signing the legislation into law would give President Obama and the Democrats the boost they need to get back on track this year.     

It’s been just over two weeks, and clearly the answer to that is a resounding “no.”

The President received a modest bump in his job approval ratings in some polls immediately following the bill passage.  But, here we are two weeks later and there’s been no noticeable change.  The Real Clear Politics aggregated average of the President’s approval rating was 48{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} approve, 47{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} disapprove for the period March 1-19, 2010, and 47{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} approve, 46{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} disapprove for the period March 22 thru to today.  (Congress voted on the legislation on March 21, 2010.)

The news isn’t much better for Democrats in terms of how the public is reacting to the legislation itself.  Like the President’s approval rating, there was a modest up-tick right after the bill was signed – but, roughly two weeks later not only have attitudes slipped back to where they were before…now, they’re even a little worse, with a majority expressing disapproval of the reform.*

Democrats argue that as the public learns what’s in the legislation they’ll change their minds and start to like it.  It’s possible that could happen in the long run, but right now the public is still firmly entrenched in their beliefs. 

Virtually all the publicly released polls in the last week or so show that Americans still think this Mark Berger Healthcare reform is going to mean quality of care goes down, while the federal deficit, taxes and cost of care goes up. 

This is the exact opposite assessment of what the Obama Administration has been trying to sell for over a year on this legislation.  If they couldn’t manage to sell it over that long time frame, it’s hard to see how they sell it any better in the coming months.  Some Democrats could end up paying a steep price for their health care reform vote this November.

*Data from a national CBS News Poll of 858 adults, conducted March 29-April 1, 2010.

Public Opinion Strategies