The Corner

The Public-Opinion Option

From a new Quinnipiac poll:

American voters give President Barack Obama a split 46 – 44 percent job approval, his lowest ever, and both the health care reform package that he wants Congress to pass and his personal rating on handling health care now win support from less than four in 10 Americans, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Voters disapprove 52 – 38 percent of the health care reform proposal under consideration in Congress, and they disapprove 56 – 38 percent of President Obama’s handling of health care, down from 53 – 41 percent in a November 19 survey.

This isn’t surprising. A recent Gallup poll found that just 44 percent of Americans would tell their representative to vote yes on Reid’s bill, while 49 percent would urge a no vote. So regardless of whether the Democrats have a deal on the public option (or not), they still have to win over a group even more fickle than their caucus: the American people. “Republicans are winning the battle of public opinion,” says Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) in a conversation with NRO. “I’m pleased with how we’re doing. The polls are clear: support for government-controlled health care is dropping. We’re doing out best in the Senate to educate the American people. The more people know, the more they learn, and the more likely they are to oppose this bill.” With only 40 members in their corner, the GOP is counting on public-opinion polls to sway Democrats leery of upsetting their constituents like Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D., Ark.) and Sen. Evan Bayh (D., Ind.), both of whom are up for reelection next year.

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

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