It is still very early but the polls so far have President Obama benefiting from passage of health care reform. All the reliable polls are “tracking” polls which generally average three of the past days results when they give out their numbers. Since health care reform passed through the House late last night no polls really incorporate Americans’ opinion of the President since passage.
Having said that health care reform dominated the news over the past weekend and while health care reform had not officially passed most analyst were predicting its passage as early as last Thursday. Therefore many Americans were likely incorporating health care’s passage in their most recent assessment of President Obama. So what do the two top polls say?
Rasmussen Reports has the President’s overall approval rating at 47% which is three points higher than the 44% low he reached last week. The President’s “approval index” number is (-12) which is significantly higher than the low of (-21) the President had last week. The “approval index” is measured by subtracting the number of likely voters who “strongly approve” by the number of voters who “strongly disapprove.” Both Rasmussen polls are only of “likely voters” which is a model that generally favors Republicans.
Gallup has the President’s approval rating at 50% with 43% disapproving. Last week Gallup had the President approval at a low of 46% with disapproval at a high of 48%.
It is impossible to predict the longer term effects of health care reform on the President’s approval rating. Some think passage will help the President as more moderates come to his side when health care reform proves harmless and no “death panels” emerge. Others think passage will energize the President’s opposition and cause them to spread their message to a wider base of the population.