Thursday, March 11, 2010

For all of President Obama’s impassioned speeches trying to sell his health care reform plan to Americans, opposition to the $2 trillion proposal has remained nearly unchanged for months, stretching back to last summer, when town halls across the nation flared with voter discontent.

Mr. Obama has been lobbying Americans on his reform bill for just more than a year, beginning on March 5, 2009, at the opening session of the Forum on Health Reform, according to CBS Radio’s Mark Knoller, who keeps scrupulous records on the president’s daily events. Since then, Mr. Obama has delivered 52 speeches, statements and remarks on health care reform across the country, with almost no effect.

The idea fared well for about two months: An April 24-26 poll by NBC and the Wall Street Journal found 33 favored reform and 26 percent opposed it. A June 26-28 poll by Rasmussen put the numbers at 50 percent for, 45 percent against.

And that virtually was the last time more Americans supported the president’s plan than opposed it.

Things began to turn sour during Congress’ recess last summer, when “tea party” activists and disgruntled voters staged protests over the plan. Members of Congress who held town halls in their districts were harangued by angry voters, who complained about the high cost of the program.

In a Rasmussen poll taken July 20-21, 53 percent of those surveyed opposed the health care plan. Polls taken Aug. 25-26, Sept. 15-16 and Nov. 29 found the exact same number opposed — 53 percent.

Most pollsters showed a small blip of support after Mr. Obama delivered a speech to a joint session of Congress in mid-September, when CNN, USA Today-Gallup and Rasmussen found a 3 percent to 5 percent margin favoring the plan. But that disappeared almost immediately and has not returned — Rasmussen showed a 13-point margin against just four days later.

In the two days after the House voted 220-215 to pass the health care reform bill, Rasmussen found 52 percent opposed and 45 percent in favor. Three days after the Senate voted Dec. 24 to approve its version, the gap jumped to 15 points — 55 percent opposed, 40 percent in favor.

Rasmussen put the gap at 18 percent in mid-January and 19 percent in mid-February.

And just last weekend, it was right back to where it was nearly eight months ago — 53 percent opposed, 42 percent in favor.

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