PRINCETON, NJ -- Nearly half of Americans give a thumbs-up to Congress' passage of a healthcare reform bill last weekend, with 49% calling it "a good thing." Republicans and Democrats have polar opposite reactions, with independents evenly split.
The findings, from a March 22 USA Today/Gallup poll conducted one day after the bill received a majority of votes in the U.S. House of Representatives, represent immediate reactions to the vote.
Americans' emotional responses to the bill's passage are more positive than negative -- with 50% enthusiastic or pleased versus 42% angry or disappointed -- and are similar to their general reactions.
Although much of the public debate over healthcare reform has been heated, barely a third of rank-and-file citizens express either enthusiasm (15%) or anger (19%) about the bill's passage. However, only Democrats show greater enthusiasm than anger. Independents are twice as likely to be angry as enthusiastic, and Republicans 10 times as likely.
Passage of healthcare reform was a clear political victory for President Obama and his allies in Congress. While it also pleases most of his Democratic base nationwide, it is met with greater ambivalence among independents and with considerable antipathy among Republicans. Whether these groups' views on the issue harden or soften in the coming months could be crucial to how healthcare reform factors into this year's midterm elections. Given that initial public reaction to Sunday's vote is more positive than recent public opinion about passing a healthcare reform bill, it appears some softening has already occurred.
Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,005 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted March 22, 2010, as part of Gallup Daily tracking. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones and cellular phones.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
Polls conducted entirely in one day, such as this one, are subject to additional error or bias not found in polls conducted over several days.