Polls Show Significant Confidence In Obama's Health Care Plans

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Most U.S. adults are optimistic about President Barack Obama's term, but believe it will take more than two years for him to improve the nation's health care system and the economy, two of the major issues he outlined during his presidential campaign, according to a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, the Times reports. The telephone poll involved 1,112 adults who were surveyed between Jan. 11 and Jan. 15 and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points (Nagourney/Connelly, New York Times, 1/18).

According to the poll, 26% U.S. residents say that it will take the Obama administration at least two years to make real progress in providing all U.S. residents with affordable health care; 20% said it will take four years; 18% said it will take more than four years; and 22% said they believed the administration will not be able to make real progress in reforming the health care system. Twenty-six percent of U.S. residents said that, regardless of whether it would hurt the economy, it is a good idea to raise taxes on families and businesses with incomes of more than $200,000 annually to expand health care coverage to the uninsured, while 28% said they would not support such a plan if it had a negative impact on the economy. Thirty-three percent said that a plan to raise taxes was a bad idea (New York Times graphic, 1/18).

A similar Washington Post/ABC News poll also found that most U.S. adults believe Obama will be able to improve the U.S. economy, the Post reports. The poll, conducted by landline and cell phones from Jan. 13 to Jan. 16, involved 1,079 adults and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. According to the poll, about seven in 10 adults said that Obama understands their problems, and a similar proportion said that his success in winning the presidency gave him "a mandate to work for major new social and economic programs." In addition, the poll found that seven in 10 U.S. adults approve of Obama's proposal to spend more than $800 billion in federal money to improve the U.S. economy (Shear/Cohen, Washington Post, 1/18).

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Obama Announces 'Organizing for America' Network

In related news, Obama on Saturday in a video message to his campaign supporters announced the launch of the "Organizing for America" network, his "first public steps ... toward transforming his massive grassroots political machinery into a national network to help him pass his agenda," the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. In the video, which was posted on YouTube, Obama said that the organization would be a part of the Democratic National Committee. According to the Sun-Sentinel, this means that the network "will be well-positioned to pressure Democrats who don't agree with him, bolster campaigns of Obama-friendly Democrats in the 2010 congressional elections and form the structure of his re-election campaign" (Wallsten, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 1/18).

Obama said, "Volunteers, grassroots leaders and ordinary citizens will continue to drive our organization, helping us bring about the changes we proposed during the campaign: a solution to our economic crisis, an end to the war in Iraq, affordable health care for all and new sources of energy to power our economy and protect our environment," adding, "You've built the largest grassroots movement in history, and shaped the future of this country. And the movement you've built is too important to stop growing now" (Davis, "Washington Wire," Wall Street Journal, 1/17).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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