Democrats Still Losing on Key Issues of Health Care Debate, Survey Shows

By Matt Cover | March 10, 2010 | 7:14 PM EST

Angela Baxter, 35, of Washington, left, and Jeb Saelens, 23, of Minnesota, protest against health insurance companies that demonstrators say are derailing efforts at health care reform, outside the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, where insurance companies were holding a meeting, in Washington, on Tuesday, March 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

( – A new Rasmussen Reports survey shows that 57 percent of American voters think that the health care reform plan currently before Congress would hurt the U.S. economy. The poll provides yet more evidence that Americans remain deeply opposed to the plan favored by President Barack Obama, for a variety of reasons.
Taken of 1,000 likely voters between March 7 and 8, the poll asked respondents whether the proposed reforms would help, hurt, or have no impact on the economy. Fifty-seven percent responded it would “hurt,” while only 25 percent said they thought it would “help” the economy. A mere seven percent said it have “no impact” while 12 percent were unsure.
Democrats find themselves deep in the minority among the public on the plan’s effects on the economy with 76 percent saying it will help or have no impact on the economy. Twenty-four percent of Democrats joined 89 percent of Republicans and 61 percent of independents in saying the plan will hurt the economy.
The poll results, which follow Obama’s campaign-like events aimed at reviving public support for the plan, show that those events and the continuing debates in Congress are not swaying public opinion. Most Americans do not believe some of the administration’s most fundamental claims about the legislation.
Rasmussen found that 66 percent think that, contrary to Obama’s claims, the plan is likely to increase the federal deficit. This number has grown since November, despite repeated attempts by Obama and congressional Democrats – most notably at a White House health care summit – to convince the public otherwise.
That question united Republicans and independents and divided Democrats. Ninety-three percent of Republicans, 71 percent of independents, and 37 percent of Democrats said that the plan was likely to increase the deficit. A mere 27 percent of Democrats agreed with their president that his plan would reduce the deficit.
The public – in even greater numbers – also does not believe that the nearly $1 trillion cost estimate for the legislation is accurate. Eighty-one percent think that it is at least “somewhat likely” that the plan will cost more than estimated, including 66 percent who say it is “very likely” the plan will be over budget.
In fact, a mere 10 percent have confidence that the official cost estimates will turn into reality in the future, saying they think the costs of reform are “unlikely” to be higher than estimated.
The public also disagrees with Obama and his Democratic allies’ claims that the bill pays for itself – 78 percent tell Rasmussen that it is at least “somewhat likely” that additional taxes will have to be raised on the middle class to finance the president’s reform package.
The public also disagrees with Democrats over the fundamentals of the problem, with 59 percent telling Rasmussen they think that cost, and not the number of uninsured or the insurance industry, is the biggest problem with American health care. Further, 54 percent believe the Democrats’ plan would raise those costs, providing a window into the persistent opposition to the plan among the public.
Only 22 percent of voters agree with Democrats that the lack of universal insurance coverage is the health care system’s biggest problem.
In what may also help explain the persistent opposition to the plan, 76 percent of those with insurance rate their coverage as “good or excellent.”
In a truly ominous sign for incumbent Democrats, a separate Rasmussen survey found that 75 percent of American voters are at least “somewhat angry” at the federal government’s current policies, including 45 percent who are “very angry,” a figure that has increased nine points from September 2009.