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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

New Polls Bring Good News for HCR

As the hand-wringing and nail-biting about HCR shifts into overdrive, the latest polls bring some good news for Dems, explains WaPo‘s Chris Cillizza:

A new polling memo from Joel Benenson, the White House’s pollster of choice, argues that support for President Barack Obama’s health care plan has been building in the wake of his State of the Union speech in late January.
Since February 1, according to data compiled by Benenson, 44 percent of those tested in national surveys support the bill while 45 percent oppose it — a sea change from the 38 percent favor/52 percent oppose average of polls conducted in the three months prior.

Not that anyone is going to get overly-optimistic about the new polling numbers, but Cillizza also warns:

While Benenson’s numbers about the trend line of approval for the President’s plan will be encouraging to nervous Democrats, even under his best case scenario the America public is deeply divided over whether the plan will work or not.

However, the GOP meme that “the public opposes the Democratic HCR legislation” was always a gross oversimplification, but unfortunately one which got a lot of media play. In addition, Benenson notes:

…Obama remains a more trusted figure than Congressional Republicans on the issue citing, as evidence, a Gallup poll released earlier this month that showed 49 percent of the sample confident in Obama’s ability to reform health care and just 32 percent saying the same of congressional Republicans.

At least the trendline is in the right direction. In crafting their arguments during the next week (or longer if that’s what it takes), Dems should take note of the latest Gallup poll, conducted 3/4-7, which indicates “the main reason” for opposing Dem HCR is the concern that it “will raise costs of insurance,” cited by 20 percent of those opposing the legislation — up from 9 percent in the Sept 11-13 poll.

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