"The raucous protests at congressional town-hall-style meetings have succeeded in fueling opposition to proposed health care bills among some Americans," USA Today reports on USA Today/Gallup poll.
"In a survey of 1,000 adults taken Tuesday, 34% say demonstrations at the hometown sessions have made them more sympathetic to the protesters' views; 21% say they are less sympathetic. Independents by 2-to-1, 35%-16%, say they are more sympathetic to the protesters now."
White House adviser David Axelrod questioned the survey's methodology, noting that those who said they were more sympathetic to the protesters now were likely to have started out on that side. He told USA Today of the protests: "'There is a media fetish about these things... but I don't think this has changed much' when it comes to public opinion." The poll also found that 51 percent of people say the "angry attacks against a bill" are democracy in action instead of an abuse of democracy (Page, 8/13).
The Christian Science Monitor: "Much public anxiety and outrage center squarely on the healthcare issue - concerns such as whether legislation would reduce the quality of the insurance people already have. ... Roughly equal numbers of Americans would advise their representative to vote for (35 percent) and against (36 percent) a reform bill, finds a new Gallup poll. When asked to choose who should make 'tough decisions' about 'which patients get certain treatments,' 40 percent said insurers and 40 percent said government, in a CNN/Opinion Research poll" (Trumbull, 8/12).
The President's approval numbers on health care wane also, The Boston Globe reports: "A Gallup Poll released yesterday found that support for President Obama's handling of the issue has stayed status quo over the past three weeks during the protests. In a poll conducted Aug. 6-9, 49 percent of Americans said they disapproved of the president's handling of health care and 43 percent approved compared to 50 percent disapproval and 44 percent approval in a survey done July 17-19" (8/13).
The Associated Press, asks "Just who are these health care protesters?" and answers: "Many of those raising their voices and fists at the town halls have never been politically active. Their frustration was born earlier this year with government bailouts and big spending bills, then found an outlet in the anti-tax Tea Parties in April and has simmered in the punishing recession."
"In some cases, it's been nurtured by talk radio and Glenn Beck's 9-12 Project, which seeks to unify Americans around nine values such as honesty, hope and sincerity and 12 principles, including, 'I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable'" (Werner, 8/12).
The Washington Times: "Public-policy analysts say that nearly two weeks of intense and often angry town-hall debate back home during August recess has thrown the White House on the defensive and turned its hopes for a full-blown overhaul of the health care system into a steeper climb" (Lambro, 8/13).
Source: Kaiser Health News