Poll: 61 % Say Start from Scratch on Health Care Reform; 63% say better if incumbents defeated

February 12, 2010 05:13

(CNSNews.com) – According to a new poll from Rasmussen Reports, a majority of Americans agree with the Republican leadership that Congress should scrap its current 2,000-page health care overhaul plans and start afresh.

Rasmussen asked likely voters: “Is it better to build on the health care plan that has been working its way through the House and Senate, or should Congress scrap that plan and start all over again?”

Just 28 percent said it would be better to build on the current plan, as the White House has indicated it wants to do, while 61 percent said the whole thing should be scrapped. Eleven percent were unsure.

Rasmussen also queried voters about the potential for a solution coming out of the bipartisan summit President Obama proposed for Feb. 25.

Rasmussen asked: “President Obama is planning to hold a publicly televised meeting with Democratic and Republican congressional leaders to see what both sides can agree on. How likely is it that Democrats and Republicans will agree on a bipartisan health care plan this year – very likely, somewhat likely, not very likely, not at all likely?”

Fully 80 percent of respondents said it was unlikely, with 32 percent saying “not at all likely.”

As CNSNews.com previously reported, the two top House Republicans—Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) – wrote a letter to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel warning that GOP members would be “reluctant” to participate in the summit if the current health care bills would frame the negotiations.

“If the starting point for this meeting is the job-killing bills the American people have already soundly rejected, Republicans would rightly be reluctant to participate,” Boehner and Cantor wrote on Tuesday.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs responded on Wednesday though, indicating that the president would not agree to start again.

“He’s been very clear about his support for the House and Senate bills,” Gibbs said in a statement, “because of what they achieve for the American people: putting a stop to insurance company abuses, extending coverage to millions of hardworking Americans, getting control of rising premiums and out-of-pocket costs, and reducing the deficit.”

The Rasmussen numbers also show only 35 percent of likely voters want to see health care reform passed before the mid-term elections in November, when one-third of the Senate and the entire House of Representatives is up for re-election. Fifty-four percent of likely voters say the legislature should wait until new members come before deciding on a bill.

Opposition to the health care plan has been steady since November 2009. The most recent Rasmussen numbers show 39 percent approve of the plan in its current form while 58 percent disapprove.

“The emotion continues to be on the side of the opponents, too,” Rasmussen notes. “The overall numbers include 19% who Strongly Approve of the plan and 48% who Strongly Disapprove of it.”

Those numbers are even worse than the pollster’s findings from Aug. 25 and 26, 2009, when Congress took its summer recess and saw many constituents criticize them in demonstrations and comments at town hall meetings across the country.

At that point, 43 percent at least somewhat approved, and 53 percent at least somewhat disapproved of the health care proposal(s).

Despite their disapproval, some likely voters indicated they still thought Democrats could find a way to pass their current plans this year.

Rasmussen, in August, asked: “How likely is it that the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and the congressional Democrats will become law this year?”

Forty-one percent still thought it was at least somewhat likely, while 50 percent of voters thought it was not very likely or not at all likely.

In a separate Rasmussen Reports poll last week, the firm found a majority of likely voters thought it would be better that most incumbents not return to Congress for another term.

Rasmussen asked, “Generally speaking, would it better for the country if most incumbents in Congress were reelected this November or if most of them were defeated?”

Sixty-three percent said it would be better that most incumbents be defeated, while just 19 percent said it would be better if most incumbents stayed in office.

“One major reason for this anti-incumbency attitude is the high level of opposition to the health care plan proposed by the president and congressional Democrats,” said Rasmussen Reports.

The polls each carried a margin of error of +/- three percentage points. The health care poll was conducted on Feb. 9-10, and the poll on incumbency was conducted on February 5-6.

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