Opposition to the Republican health bill is growing, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.
As the GOP-led Senate prepares to take up the measure, only 35 percent of voters surveyed approve of the bill passed by the House last month. Nearly half of voters, 49 percent, disapprove of the bill. The other 16 percent don’t know or don’t have an opinion, the poll shows.
POLITICO/Morning Consult polling indicates the bill has become less popular since the House advanced it in early May. Immediately after the bill passed, slightly more voters approved of the bill, 38 percent. Opposition to the bill was lower, too, immediately after the House passed it: 44 percent.
The poll underscores the risks Republicans face in pursuing legislation for which opposition is creeping toward a majority of voters. The Senate’s so-far behind-closed-doors drafting process also complicates Republicans’ efforts to sell the proposal to their own voters — and there’s some evidence of slippage among the GOP base on the party’s Obamacare repeal bid.
Among Republican voters, 30 percent disapprove of the GOP health care bill. That is up from 15 percent of Republicans disapproving in early May.
Moreover, independent voters disapprove of the bill by a 2-to-1 margin: 26 percent approve, versus 53 percent who disapprove.
"When Senate Republicans finally release their new version of the American Health Care Act to the public, they will have to contend with growing opposition," said Morning Consult Co-founder and Chief Research Officer Kyle Dropp. "Approval of the legislation has dropped steadily since its initial introduction, including among GOP voters and independents."
Other measures similarly show few voters are cheering for the legislation’s passage. Only 27 percent think it will make the U.S. health care system better, compared to 41 percent who think it will make the system worse. Just 17 percent think it will decrease costs for them and their families, while 46 percent think costs will increase.
Only 22 percent of voters say they have heard a lot about Senate Republicans writing their own health care bill. Another 44 percent say they’ve heard “some” about it, 25 percent haven’t heard much and 9 percent say they have heard nothing at all.
And while voters haven’t heard much about the Senate’s progress, they want the GOP to work with Democrats on the final bill. Nearly two-thirds of voters, 65 percent, say they want Republicans to “compromise with Democrats to reach bipartisan reforms.” Only 18 percent want the GOP to “work only with other Republicans in Congress to achieve reforms.”
Even among GOP voters, a 54-percent majority wants the party to work across the aisle on the final product.
President Donald Trump will be able to help sell the bill to GOP voters — 80 percent of Republicans approve of the job he is doing, the poll shows.
But Trump’s overall approval rating lags well behind. Only 44 percent of all voters approve of the job he is doing as president, compared to 52 percent who disapprove.
And Republicans are on perilous political ground, according to the poll’s generic ballot test. Forty-three percent of voters say they would support the Democratic candidate for Congress in their district, compared to only 37 percent for the Republican candidate. Among voters who say their most important issue is health care, the Democratic candidate leads by 38 points, 61 percent to 23 percent.
The poll was conducted June 15-19, prior to Republican Karen Handel’s victory in Tuesday’s special congressional election in Georgia. The poll surveyed 2,051 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Morning Consult is a nonpartisan media and technology company that provides data-driven research and insights on politics, policy and business strategy.