Public option gains support
CLEAR MAJORITY NOW BACKS PLAN
Americans still divided on overall packages
By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that support for a government-run health-care plan to compete with private insurers has rebounded from its summertime lows and wins clear majority support from the public.
Americans remain sharply divided about the overall packages moving closer to votes in Congress and President Obama's leadership on the issue, reflecting the partisan battle that has raged for months over the administration's top legislative priority. But sizable majorities back two key and controversial provisions: both the so-called public option and a new mandate that would require all Americans to carry health insurance.
Independents and senior citizens, two groups crucial to the debate, have warmed to the idea of a public option, and are particularly supportive if it would be administered by the states and limited to those without access to affordable private coverage.
But in a sign of the fragile coalition politics that influence the negotiations in Congress, Obama's approval ratings on health-care reform are slipping among his fellow Democrats even as they are solidifying among independents and seniors. Among Democrats, strong approval of his handling of the issue has dropped 15 percentage points since mid-September.