Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Obama Signs Health Care Reform Into Law, USA Today Poll Shows Americans in Favor

ICYMI, here is today's signing ceremony for health care reform:

Besides the word "historic", you can now add "popular" to the list of descriptors for this legislation. Once people learn of all the benefits that this will bring, lo and behold, they start to come around to the idea...

Americans by 9 percentage points have a favorable view of the health care overhaul that President Obama signed into law Tuesday, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, a notable turnaround from surveys before the vote that showed a plurality against it.

By 49%-40% those surveyed say it was "a good thing" rather than a bad one that Congress passed the bill. Half describe their reaction in positive terms, as "enthusiastic" or "pleased," while about four in 10 describe it in negative ways, as "disappointed" or "angry."

You can also add "unpopular" when it comes to Congressional Republicans. For all their caterwauling about how they and they only represent the "majority of the people", know that they most certainly do not - and the ratings on their behavior fare the worst out of everyone involved.

The findings are encouraging for the White House and congressional Democrats, who get higher ratings than congressional Republicans for their work on the issue. The poll shows receptive terrain as the White House and advocacy groups launch efforts to sell the plan, including a trip by Obama to Iowa on Thursday.

No one gets overwhelmingly positive ratings on the issue, but Obama fares the best: 46% say his work has been excellent or good; 31% call it poor. Congressional Democrats get an even split: 32% call their efforts good or excellent; 33% poor.

The standing of congressional Republicans is more negative. While 26% rate their work on health care as good or excellent, a larger group, 34%, say it has been poor.

Want more? Media Matters has the results of a few other polls:

Echoing many on the right, Newt Gingrich today sent an email claiming, "In every recent poll the vast majority of Americans opposed this monstrosity."

But that just isn't true. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll found last week that Americans supported the legislation by a 46%-42% margin. The Economist published a poll showing that 53% supported the bill and 47% opposing it.

They also cite a CNN poll that shows when you add in the 13% who feel that this legislation didn't go far enough, you have another majority that either supports this reform or wants to expand it even further.

Perhaps as a result of this feedback, notice how the Republican talking points have suddenly turned into "repeal and replace" rather than simply "repeal". It took all of 24 hours for that to happen, as the R's realized that they are now on the wrong side of history, and no one wants to take away the instant benefits to small business, kids and the elderly. What a surprise.

Still a long way to go towards selling the benefits of this plan as the questions come up and the details come out, still a lot of screaming and distortions and frivolous lawsuits from the right-wing to be heard - but now Republicans are working to repeal popular legislation, and they don't speak for the majority of Americans. Keep that in mind the next time they claim that they do.

The Republican campaign of fear needs to end. As Krugman said, this was a "victory for America’s soul." We have joined the rest of the world in making health care a right - and it's time to move forward, and make it even better as we go on.