9-12 protest

A new CNN Opinion Research poll, conducted over the weekend as the House debated Obamacare, finds that 59 percent of Americans now stand opposed to the health care legislation in Congress. Just 39 percent of the poll’s 1,030 respondents said they favored the bill.

These numbers shouldn’t come as a surprise — even to the White House. In fact, The Washington Post reported this morning that “President Obama is set to begin an immediate public relations blitz aimed at turning around Americans’ opinion of the health-care bill.” The White House plan will be both a short-term strategy to shore up political supporters of the legislation and a long-term effort to bolster Obama’s legacy.

Reshaping the legislation’s image will take place in three phases, White House aides said: the immediate aftermath; the seven months until the November midterm elections; and the several years that follow, during which many provisions in the measure will gradually take effect.

Of course, given the findings of the CNN poll, the White House has it’s work cut out. In addition to the nearly 6 in 10 Americans who oppose the legislation, the poll also found very little good news about the bill’s details.

• 62 percent say the amount they pay for medical care will increase.
• 47 percent think they’ll be worse off when it becomes law.
• 70 percent believe the federal budget deficit will go up — contrary to repeated claims from Democrats.
• 56 percent view Obamacare as creating too much government involvement in health care.

As troubling as these numbers are for the White House, Obama’s advisers are confident their savvy public-relations campaign will quell public anger. “The Republicans have way overshot the runway in their criticism of health reform,” White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer told the Post.