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Poll: Support for Obamacare Falls Below 50%

Monday, July 20, 2009

Public support for President Barack Obama's handling of healthcare
reform, the pillar of his legislative agenda, has fallen below 50
percent for the first time, a Washington Post-ABC News poll released
on Monday said.

Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress have run into stiff
opposition this month as they try to pass legislation to restructure
the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare industry through the creation of a
government-run health insurance program.

Republicans and some fiscally conservative Democrats argue the plan,
with an estimated cost of more than $1 trillion, could hurt small
businesses, add to budget deficits and reduce the quality of medical
care for many Americans.

Those concerns may be having an impact on the public, according to the
poll, which showed 49 percent of respondents approving of Obama's
stand on the issue compared to 57 percent in April.

Those saying they disapproved rose to 44 percent from 29 percent
during the same period.

Obama and the White House have gone on the offensive to drum up
support for the plan, which would compete with private insurers,
provide cover to many of the 46 million uninsured and try to stem
runaway medical costs.

With time running out to pass a bill in Congress this year, the battle
is shaping up as a major test of Obama's presidency.

Delaying legislation until 2010, a congressional election year, could
give Republicans and critics in the healthcare sector more time to
galvanize opposition to the plan.

But Obama remains more trusted than Republicans in Congress to do a
better job on healthcare reform, the poll showed, with 54 percent of
respondents putting their faith in the U.S. leader versus 34 percent
in favor of Republican lawmakers.

His overall approval rating also remains high at 59 percent despite
some slippage in approval ratings for his handling of the economy, the
federal budget deficit and other leading domestic issues, according to
the poll.

It surveyed 1,001 adults randomly by telephone between July 15-18,
2009. The results from the full survey have a margin of error of
plus/minus three percentage points.


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