Health Reform Polls Ticking Upward

Some good news for Democrats--but some bad as well.

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By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

For the first time in months, a plurality of Americans supports healthcare reform, according to a new Gallup poll. The reform plan's numbers have been improving since early November, when only 43 percent approved and 48 percent disapproved of it. Now 49 percent approve and 46 percent disapprove--a good trend and a good hallmark as Democrats try to push to finish the legislation.

But the poll also contains several items that should trouble Obama and the Democrats.

First is intensity: Among people who have a strong view of the legislation, 37 percent would tell their member of Congress to "vote for" and 41 percent to "vote against." No surprise, but not good news.

Of greater concern is overall disapproval among independent voters, 54 percent of whom disapprove of the legislation, as compared to 39 percent who favor it. Worse, as recently as December, 44 percent of independents supported the bill.

So the news here is good, but not great for Democrats. The country remains sharply split and polls are tricky things--see for example the new CBS News poll that has much worse news for Democrats, which  bloleague Peter Roff reviews.