Poll: Republicans Fall to 25 Percent Approval, Most Americans Back Public Option

October 08, 2009 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

One of the key storylines of the year has been the GOP’s inability to grab a real advantage from voter disappointment with President Obama and the Democrats. A new Quinnipiac Poll has only 25 percent of Americans approving of the Republican Party, the same low number approving of Republicans in Congress, and only 29 percent of Americans believing that the opposition party is acting in “good faith.” The president has a 16-point lead on health care; that’s up from a 9-point lead last month. He has inched up, only slightly, in his approval ratings on health care and the economy.

As with most measures of the president and the parties, white voters are the most willing to take the GOP’s side. Because the 2010 electorate is likely to be whiter and older than the 2008 electorate, there’s some hope for Republicans there. But not too much. Only 28 percent of whites have a favorable opinion of the GOP. Only 31 percent of whites say Republicans are making a good-faith effort on health care.

Most importantly, 56 percent of whites support “giving people the option of being covered by a government health insurance plan that would compete with private plans.” Overall, 61 percent of Americans back the “public option.” Even though a majority of Americans are squeamish about a bill that doesn’t get Republican votes, this is more grist for liberals who have argued that the Washington political class has ruled the option out too quickly.

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