In an article by Michelle Goldberg, House Minority Leader John Boehner said, in response to the passage of the Healthcare bill,
“Today we stand here amidst the wreckage of what was once the respect and honor that this House was held in by our fellow citizens… We have failed to listen to America.”
Ok, regardless of which side you are on in this debate, this is clearly ridiculous. The House of Representatives has consistently received terrible approval ratings! Let’s just take this Healthcare debate, and a CBS poll shows that only 32% of respondents approved of Democrats’ handling of the issue. Before Republicans get all gleeful, the same poll showed a dismal 25% approving of the GOP (this might be because they failed to offer any proper, adult response).
As for general approval ratings, take a look at this graph:
I don’t have the time (at the moment) to check out what caused the spikes in approval (2002’s 84% must have something to do with 9/11, beginning or Afghanistan campaign or something like that – anyone know?), but it’s pretty clear that Congress hasn’t exactly been vastly popular. This does beg the question: how to Congressmen/-women keep getting re-elected? Sure, there’s plenty of gerrymandering, but if approval of these people’s handling of their jobs is so low, why aren’t they kicked out?
To return to the Healthcare debate, let’s take a look at Gallup’s latest polling data on who supports the latest bill:
I imagine the slight tilting against for those who have Medicare coverage will have something to do with a belief that this new bill will reduce their Medicare allowances. Or they’re some of the few who want the government to keep their hands out of their… uh, government-provided medical care… (See below)
And this t-shirt design says it all:
It’s interesting that the bulk of the support seems to come from not only the poor, but also the rich – take a look at the +3 margin for those earning $90k+. That’s something I wouldn’t have expected. Although, one final comment from the Gallup article does not seem to add up with the slight leaning towards yes for the wealthier bracket:
“In a related finding, 73% of nonwhites (disproportionally Democratic in their party identification) say the bill's passage was a good thing, compared with 40% of whites (who lean Republican). The average income of nonwhites is also lower than that of whites, which likely contributes to their higher support for the healthcare vote.”
I’m still sure that, when the bill gets enacted, and people start to see the benefits, it will become another protected provision. After the naysayers start to get cheaper healthcare, or are able to get healthcare, then maybe things will settle down. Who really knows. I only know one person who’s actually read the bill (he’s Republican-leaning), yet he still sees it as some tyrannical provision that will spell the end of America. I shall have to go read it, and report back.