More Americans oppose health care reform than support it, as backing for President Obama's hallmark legislation remains tepid following a month of combative town halls on the subject, according to a Gallup Poll released Tuesday.
Just 37 percent of Americans support the pending legislation, which is expected to be picked up again as Congress returns to session Tuesday following a month-long recess. A slightly larger number -- 39 percent -- want their congressmen to vote against the bill, the poll found.
Many members of Congress held heated meetings in the dog days of summer where supporters were often slammed for backing the $1.5 trillion package, but support for the legislation shifted only slightly from a month ago. Nearly a quarter of those polled by Gallup -- 24 percent -- still have no opinion on the issue.
The poll shows the issue will likely be politically potent in 2010, as 64 percent of Americans say their representative's position on health care reform will be a major factor in their vote in the next congressional election. Opponents of the bill are watching even more closely, as 82 percent say the issue will be a major factor in their vote in next year's elections. More than three-fifths of supporters -- 62 percent -- say health care votes will be a major factor for them as well.
The nationally conducted poll surveyed 1,026 adults from Aug. 31-Sept. 2 and has a 4-point margin of error. It found support for reform split along party lines, with independents leaning toward Republicans in clear opposition to the bill.