Support and opposition for the president's "proposals for health care reform" are now tied 45% to 45%, according to the poll. A month ago, a modest 49% to 41% plurality supported them.
More from results of The Harris Poll of 2,293 adults surveyed online between October 5 and 12, 2009:
When President Obama was inaugurated, those who supported his "proposals for health care reform" outnumbered those who were opposed by more than two-to-one (50% to 20%). In Harris Polls in July and August, modest pluralities (of 42 and 49 percentage points respectively) supported his plans. Now for the first time as many people oppose as support them.Read more poll results at www.harrisinteractive.com
Health reform continues to be a deeply polarizing issue. Republicans oppose President Obama's "proposals" by 79% to 14% (quotation marks are used because he is not committed to any one of the bills working their way through the Congress). Democrats support them by 75% to 16%, and Independents are split with 48% opposed, 44% in favor.
Agreement with criticisms of President Obama's proposals
This Harris Poll asked people how strongly they agreed or disagreed with "eleven criticisms that have been made of the president's health care proposals." Majorities, from 51% to 68% agree with seven of them, and pluralities with another three. The results are striking, to say the least.
Approximately two-thirds of all adults agree that:
-- "We should reduce the cost of health care before trying to provide insurance to more people," by 68% to 23%.
-- "The proposed reforms would result in higher taxes," by 67% to 18%.
-- "The proposed reform would result in a government-run health care system" by 65% to 22%.
Smaller majorities agree that:
-- "The proposed reforms would reduce the choices many people now have," by 55% to 32%;
-- "Health insurance would be too expensive for many people to buy," by 52% to 31%;
-- "The proposed reforms would not be good for people like me," by 51% to 31%;
-- "The proposed reforms would make it harder for many people to get the care they need," by 51% to 35%.
Pluralities also agree with two criticisms, that:
-- "The proposed reforms would change the system too much when only minor changes are needed," by 48% to 37%.
-- "The proposed reforms would hurt Medicare," by 45% to 30%.
On one criticism the public is divided with 43% agreement and 42% disagreeing is that "the system we have now is better than what the president is proposing." A plurality disagreed with only one of the eleven criticisms, by 46% to 37%, that "the proposed reforms would create panels that would decide who should live and who should die." But the remarkable finding here is that fully 37% believe this to be true.