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Poll: Youth most critical of health bill

BY CHRIS CURTLAND | NOVEMBER 19, 2009 7:21 AM

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More than half of Americans believe health-care reform would do more harm than good and disapprove of how President Obama is settling into his job, according to a Hawkeye Poll released Wednesday.

The results come just 12 days after the House passed a health-care bill on a 220-215 vote.

The Hawkeye Poll, led by UI political-science faculty members, was based on phone surveys conducted of 772 adult respondents between Oct. 23 and 31. According to results, 52.2 percent are opposed to government action on health care and just 47.9 percent approve of how Obama is handling his presidential duties.

Nathan Darus, a member of Hawkeye Poll, said findings showed a split among those surveyed.
“It looks like there’s a partisan divide between those who approve and disapprove of Obama,” said Darus, a UI graduate teaching assistant in political science. “And that partisanship plays right into the question involving government interaction in the health-care debate.”

It’s typical to see an early drop in approval ratings for presidents, he said, especially when a candidate rolls out a huge agenda and has yet to make much progress. The switching of White House staffs likewise reveals a lack of experience, which makes the first two years “the hardest to get past,” he said.

Those who approved of Obama’s performance thus far were a bit more likely to support health-care reform, the poll showed.

“Democrats approve of Obama’s job more, and those who approve of Obama usually approved of health-care reform,” he said, and aside from partisan splits, no one group was roundly disapproving.

Women supported reform far more than men, regardless of political orientation. In total, 58 percent of women preferred change to 41 percent of men.

With 61 percent thinking government action would be bad, the 18-35 age group was most opposed to reform — such as UI freshman Eric Ward.

“The waiting-list idea is frustrating,” the pre-business major said. “I don’t necessarily agree with the bill or government interaction.”

Conversely, this age group showed the most support for Obama — which served as no surprise, Darus said.

“[They] are most supportive of him and young people supported him most during his campaign,” he said.

Perhaps that’s why young people, such as Kyle Sustich, a UI senior in elementary education, haven’t given up on Obama yet.

“It’s too early to tell,” he said. “I still approve.”

Likewise, Ward said Obama will fill his presidential shoes in time.

“He hasn’t had a lot of time to prove himself,” he said. “But he’s still got three years left.”

The Hawkeye Poll will release more of its findings in coming days.


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