A Washington Post/ABC News poll found that public support for health care legislation rose only slightly in response to President Obama’s much-hyped health care speech last week. The poll found that 46 percent supported legislation and 48 opposed, compared with 45 percent support and 50 percent opposition in the last poll, taken mid August. Interestingly, the poll also found that 41 percent said the more they hear about the health care proposal, the more they like it, compared to 54 percent who say that the more they hear about it, the less they like it.
If anything, I think these numbers overstate support for Obama’s health care initiative. The reason is that right now people are responding in a broad sense to what they think health care legislation is. For instance, some respondents may support legislation only because they don’t think it will include a government plan, while others may be supportive because they think the final bill will include a government-run plan. Ultimately, Congress and the White House will have to start making actual decisions about what parts of legislation to keep and dump, and how to finance it. As that process drags on, I would bet that we’ll start to see support drop.