WASHINGTON (CNN) — Americans appear split over President Barack Obama’s health care proposals, according to a new national poll.
Fifty percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Wednesday morning say they support the president’s plans, with 45 percent opposed.
The results indicate a generational divide.
“Obama’s plan is most popular among younger Americans and least popular among senior citizens,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. “A majority of Americans over the age of 50 oppose Obama’s plan; a majority of those under 50 support it.”
This mirrors recent polls on the subject from Gallup and Rasmussen, both of which show the public almost equally divided on the need for health care reform, and the merits of the plan being advanced by the Obama Administration.
This tells us a few things.
It demonstrates quite clearly how important the August recess is to this debate. With the public almost evenly divided and nothing much else going on, people are going to be bombarded with health care coverage (unless something else happens to interrupt the news cycle). People will be persuaded, and minds will be up. If, by the time Congress returns in September, the polls don’t show a pretty strong majority in favor of Obama’s plan, then it’s chances for success over the ensuing weeks seem dim.
It also explains why both sides of this debate are becoming ever shriller by the day. We’ve got the right claiming that the plan would essentially require the elderly to die rather than receive medical care — an assertion that seems to be false on it’s face based on the language of the bill — and we’ve got the left claiming that anyone who opposes ObamaCare is a champion of the status quo and in the pocket of the insurance companies. Look for that rhetoric to get even worse as this debate goes on, which would seem to make the possibility of reasoned debate of the merits of a health care industry even more dominated by government control and regulation pretty remote.
Finally, it also tells us that, so far at least, neither side is winning this debate. There is no consensus in favor of ObamaCare, but it’s also pretty clear that the town hall demonstrators don’t represent the majority of the American public either. I happen to think the demonstrators are right on the merits, but they’ve still got to convince a lot of people of that, and they’re not doing a very good job so far.