Pubic opinion of the unveiled and just as quickly limping and dying Senate health care reform bill isn’t any better than it was for the House version passed in May, according to today’s Monmouth University Poll. Composed prior to last night’s Senate failure, the poll finds that Republicans may be losing confidence in how this issue is being handled by their party’s leadership. The poll also finds that Congress as a whole as well as its partisan leadership receive generally negative reviews, with the House speaker doing better than the Senate majority leader among their fellow Republicans.
Just 27% of Americans approve of the Senate health care reform bill introduced last week while a majority of 56% disapprove. These results are nearly identical to the public’s response to a similar bill passed by the House in May, which stood at 32% approve and 55% disapprove. However, Republicans are less supportive of this new bill (49%) than they were of the House version two months ago (71%). Current support among independents (30% now versus 29% for the House bill) and Democrats (7% now versus 6% for the House bill) is nearly identical to what it was in May.
The public is divided on how this new Senate bill stacks up against the House version. About 1-in-5 (21%) say the Senate bill is better, 3-in-10 (31%) say it is worse, and 3-in-10 (31%) say it is about the same. Only 38% of Republicans say the Senate bill is better than the original House version, although just 9% say it is worse. Half (51%) of Democrats say the Senate bill is worse and just 8% say it is an improvement over the House version.
“The Republican base does not express overwhelming confidence in how their party’s leadership is handling health care reform. There has been a drop in support since passage of the House bill two months ago, which partly explains why the new bill is on life support just days after it was introduced,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
If the Senate bill becomes law (unlikely, based on what happened last night), nearly half of the public (46%) expects their own health care costs to go up, although this belief ranges from 69% of Democrats to 39% of independents and 27% of Republicans. Only 10% of Americans think their costs would go down as a result of this bill – including just 19% of Republicans, 11% of independents, and 3% of Democrats. Another one-third of the public (35%) expects that their costs will remain about the same if this bill is enacted into law. These results are basically the same as opinion of the House bill in May, although Republicans are now somewhat more likely to expect their own health care costs will go up under the Senate bill (27%) than felt that way about the House version (17%).
Similarly, 39% of the public expects that their own access to quality health care will get worse under the new bill and just 14% believe it will get better. Another 43% feel their access to quality health care will remain about the same as it is now if the new bill becomes law.
A plurality of 44% say the primary motivation for pushing this legislation is so that Republicans in Congress can score a political victory. Only 21% say the driving force behind this bill is a genuine attempt to fix the health care system, although 30% say both motivations are equally at work. These results are almost identical to how the public saw passage of the House bill – 46% said it was politically motivated, 21% said it was a genuine fix, and 27% said it was motivated by both factors equally.
The Monmouth University Poll also finds that public opinion of Congress continues to wallow, with just 19% approving of the legislative branch’s performance and 70% disapproving. The vast majority of Democrats (77%), independents (73%), and Republicans (57%) give Congress a negative job rating.
The leaders of the two chambers of Congress do note fare any better in the court of public opinion. On the Senate side, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell earns a 12% approve and 38% disapprove rating, with 49% offering no opinion. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who just assumed the post in January, gets a 17% approve and 28% disapprove rating, with 55% having no opinion.
In the House of Representatives, Speaker Paul Ryan has a 23% approve and 43% disapprove rating, with 34% having no opinion. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has a 17% approve and 42% disapprove rating, with 41% having no opinion.
In terms of net negative ratings – approve minus disapprove –McConnell (-26), Pelosi (-25), and Ryan (-20) are all in the same ballpark. Schumer (-11) fairs a little better, but is the least known of the four leaders. While Ryan gets a net +26 positive rating from his fellow Republicans (47% approve to 21% disapprove), McConnell earns a split decision (+1, 24% to 23%) from the same group. Both Pelosi (+17, 34% to 17%) and Schumer (+11, 26% to 15%) earn net positive ratings from their fellow Democrats.
Examining how these leaders are viewed by the opposite party, Pelosi gets a net negative -59 rating (6% approve to 65% disapprove) among Republicans while Ryan earns a net negative -55 rating (7% to 62%) rating from Democrats. McConnell gets a net negative -45 rating (6% to 51%) from Democrats while Schumer gets a net negative -30 rating (10% to 40%) from Republicans.
“These ratings demonstrate just how potent a mobilizing factor these Congressional leaders are for voters of the opposite party,” said Murray. “It is also worth noting that Ryan is significantly more popular with Republican voters than McConnell is.”
The Monmouth University Polling Institute conducted the poll by telephone from July 13 to 16, 2017 with 800 adults in the United States. The results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent.