By Kathleen Gilbert
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 9, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A series of recent public opinion polls and anti-Obamacare petitions have shown that President Obama and his health care overhaul are continuing to decline in popularity at the end of a turbulent Congressional recess.
The public disapproval rating of Obama's handling of health care has jumped nine points since July to 52 per cent, according to an Associated Press-GfK survey released today. In the same poll, 49 said they disapproved of Obama's overall performance, up from 42 per cent in July.
The most recent Rasmussen Reports Daily Presidential Tracking Poll shows that 31 per cent of the nation's voters strongly approve of Obama's presidential performance, while 39 per cent said they strongly disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -8.
Scott Rasmussen noted in an August Wall Street Journal opinion piece that the polls indicate Obama's efforts to galvanize support for his plan have grim prospects of success: only 25 per cent of American voters strongly favor the health care reform, while 41 per cent strongly oppose it. Among independent voters in August, 60 per cent opposed the bill while 35 per cent were in favor, with 47 per cent strongly opposed and 16 per cent strongly favoring.
Obama is scheduled to speak today to a joint session of Congress, presumably the latest attempt to persuade reluctant bipartisan lawmakers to accept his health reform agenda.
A Zogby Interactive Survey released August 31 noted that the August drop in support ran across several of Obama's core constituencies. Democrats, liberals, African-Americans, and young voters in the survey who approved of Obama's job performance all showed a drop of about 8-9 points since July 24.
Meanwhile, an online petition this summer sponsored by Townhall.com called “Free Our Healthcare Now” has raced across the Internet, and now touts over 1.3 million signatures – which its sponsors say makes it the largest public policy petition ever delivered.
The anti-Obama group Grassfire.org claims that its own online petition against the health care overhaul has reached nearly half a million signatures.
Grassfire is also circulating a critique of the health care overhaul by ABC reporter John Stossel, republished by America's News Today on Youtube last month.
In the report, Stossel encapsulates many of the fears expressed by citizens across the country in townhall meetings by showing the pitfalls of government-run health care systems. Though President Obama has denied that he intends to bring about a single-payer health care system, the ABC report points to a video of then-Senator Obama specifically advocating for a “single-payer health care system.”
Another video showing Obama advocating for a single-payer plan in 2003 and 2007, and linked by the Drudge Report, was blasted by the White House early last month as “taking sentences and phrases out of context and cobbling them together to leave a very false impression” of the president's stated position. The White House attempted to prove its position by showing more recent videos of Obama denying a future government takeover. However, the Drudge Report quickly linked to an uncut version of Obama's 2003 remarks that verified the message of the first video. The White House did not respond to the later video.