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CBS, NBC Acknowledge ObamaCare Approval At All-Time Low; ABC Skips

On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell zeroed in on her network's latest poll that found that "more Americans than ever want the health care law repealed." However, she tried to explain it away by asserting that the public just needed to be educated: "This is the same problem the White House has faced from the very beginning about a lack of understanding about what is involved in ObamaCare." In the CBS News poll, 54 percent disapprove of ObamaCare.

NBC's Chuck Todd also briefly noted at an end of a report that an "all-time record low of people in our poll thinks his health care law is a good idea – just 34 percent" on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News. However, ABC has yet to report on their latest poll on ObamaCare on their morning and evening newscasts.

O'Donnell mentioned the recent poll figure near the end of a segment with CBS News political director John Dickerson. An on-screen graphic backed up the anchor's "lack of understanding" claim about the Affordable Care Act: "Health Care Confusion: CBS News Poll: Americans Remain Skeptical". She wondered "what's the White House doing" with regard to the controversial law.
                                        
Dickerson replied that "this is another chronic issue", and continued by outlining the Obama administration's push:

JOHN DICKERSON: ...[T]here's an operational part to this, which is that the White House has got to get people to sign up for these health exchanges, particularly younger, healthier Americans. And so, they are tactically running a campaign much like the presidential campaign – reaching out, using the techniques of that campaign – to get younger people to sign up for these health exchanges. And the – the feeling basically is, again, speeches aren't going to change public opinion. This has got to start taking hold. People have been – start signing up, and the White House hopes good things will start to happen once it kicks in, and that might turn around public opinion. But that's a ways away.

Just before ending the segment, another graphic pointed out another figure from the CBS News poll – that only 13 percent of those polled think ObamaCare will help them, and almost three times that number – 38 percent – think the law will hurt them.

Wednesday's NBC Nightly News failed to put up an accompanying graphic when Todd cited the 34 percent approval rating for ObamaCare. The evening newscast did put up chyrons on the all-time low approval rating of Congress; President Obama's lowest approval rating in two years; what Americans think about the direction of the country; how people rate Republicans on their relationship with President Obama; and how effective people rate President Obama regarding the final years of his second term.

ABC News/Washington Post released their latest poll results on Wednesday as well, but as of Thursday morning, they have yet to detail them on the air. That poll found that 49 percent oppose ObamaCare and 42 percent support it. Forty-eight percent also think the law is "so flawed it should be dropped".

The transcripts of the John Dickerson segment from Wednesday's CBS This Morning and the Chuck Todd report from Wednesday's NBC Nightly News:

07/25/2013
07:07 am EDT
CBS This Morning

NORAH O'DONNELL: President Obama kicks off a campaign-style tour today. He's pushing his economic policies – his first stop Galesburg, Illinois. The President will give what is being billed  as a major economic address.

[CBS News Graphic: "Economic Worries: CBS News Poll: Six In Ten Say Economy In Bad Shape"]

CHARLIE ROSE: A CBS News poll out this morning shows Americans are not feeling good about the economy. Thirty-seven percent rate it as good; 61 percent say it's bad.

CBS News political director John Dickerson is in Washington. John, good morning.

[CBS News Graphic: "Rate The National Economy: Good, 37%; Bad, 61%; Source: CBS News Poll; Margin of Error: +/- 3% Pts."]

JOHN DICKERSON: Good morning, Charlie.

ROSE: So, what does the President hope to accomplish by reaching back to earlier themes about inequality, as well as facing some very tough possibilities in Congress on the debt ceiling and sequestration?

DICKERSON: Well, it's that fight on the debt ceiling and sequestration. We've been given a little break from those chronic fights that we've had. Remember, we seem to have one every month or so. Well, they're coming back in the fall, and what the President is trying to do here is seize the initiative – set the terms of that debate. Again, we've seen that time and time again in this presidency. But, to the extent there's going to be a showdown over the budget, he wants to try to argue it on his terms. The – the themes will be familiar, and at the center of – of the President's themes will be the middle class – what he thinks should be done to improve the situation for the middle class, which will lead to economic growth, which will help the economy.

[CBS News Graphic: "Rate The National Economy: July 2013: Good, 37%; Bad, 61%; July 2012: Good, 27%; Bad, 71%; Source: CBS News Poll; Margin of Error: +/- 3% Pts."]

ROSE: So, they're putting lot of emphasis on these speeches and trying to redefine the debate. But, in fact, they're old arguments – nothing new.

DICKERSON: Oh, indeed. They're – they're very old arguments. Now, the White House would say, yes, they're the solutions we've been pushing for years, but we're fighting with a Congress – particularly Republicans – who don't want to meet us halfway. And so, don't – they would say – I guess they're focused on the fact there's nothing new here. But the problem for the President is – is that people – he's tried this time and again.

Remember, he's made this the centerpiece of his campaign – of State of the Union addresses. So, it is an old fight, and the question is, will it be moved by public speeches, or is it really about the negotiations in Washington and working with those Republicans? And that's not going to be changed by a public relations campaign.

[CBS News Graphic: "Health Care Confusion: CBS News Poll: Americans Remain Skeptical"]

O'DONNELL: John, we also found in our new poll that more Americans than ever want the health care law repealed, and a majority are confused about it. This is the same problem the White House has faced from the very beginning about a lack of understanding about what is involved in ObamaCare, and I think many people may not even know the mandate for having insurance is October 1. What's the White House doing?

[CBS News Graphic: "What Should Congress Do About Health Care Law? Expand Or Keep, 36%; Repeal, 39%; View Of Health Care Law: Approve, 36%; Disapprove, 54%; Don't know, 10%; Source: CBS News Poll; Margin of Error: +/- 3% Pts."]

DICKERSON: Right. This is another chronic issue. You know, the White House is trying – there's an operational part to this, which is that the White House has got to get people to sign up for these health exchanges, particularly younger, healthier Americans. And so, they are tactically running a campaign much like the presidential campaign – reaching out, using the techniques of that campaign – to get younger people to sign up for these health exchanges. And the – the feeling basically is, again, speeches aren't going to change public opinion. This has got to start taking hold. People have been – start signing up, and the White House hopes good things will start to happen once it kicks in, and that might turn around public opinion. But that's a ways away.

[CBS News Graphic: "Health Care Law Will Personally...: Help Me, 13%; Hurt Me, 38%; Source: CBS News Poll; Margin of Error: +/- 3% Pts."]

O'DONNELL: John Dickerson, thank you.


07/24/2013
07:01 am EDT
NBC Nightly News

BRIAN WILLIAMS: The news tonight isn't so much that Americans are fed up with Washington and disapprove of the job Congress is doing. Sadly, that's pretty much been a constant of late. But it is news that our discontent has now set an all-time record.

Our new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows some numbers not seen in the history of polling. Eighty-three percent of us now disapprove of Congress. The President is riding a 45 percent approval – his lowest number, notably, since two summers ago. It, perhaps, fueled his trip to Illinois, and then, Missouri today. In places like that, it's a whole lot easier to distance yourself from Washington.

[NBC News Graphic: "NBC News/ The Wall Street Journal, July 17-21, 2013; Congress: Approve, 12%; Disapprove, 83%; President Obama Job Approval: Approve, 45%; Disapprove, 51%; MOE: +/- 3.1%"]

Our chief White House correspondent, political director Chuck Todd here with us in our studios in New York tonight with all of it. Chuck, good evening.

CHUCK TODD: Brian, that's exactly what this is. When presidents are in trouble and things aren't going well in Washington, they do one thing: they get out of Washington. And the President here trying to channel the public's anger and try to reconnect with it – a public that seems to be slowly disconnecting from him.

TODD (voice-over): President Obama traveled to Galesburg, Illinois, in an attempt to re-energize his presidency, and demonstrate to the public he's focused on trying to speed up the economic recovery.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Today, five years after the start of that great recession, America has fought its way back.

TODD: Yet, in a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, just 29 percent believe the country is headed in the right direction – near a two-year low. A growing majority believes the country is on the wrong track. The President acknowledged during this recovery, the middle class is stagnating.

[NBC News Graphic: "NBC News/ The Wall Street Journal, July 17-21, 2013; Direction Of The Country: Right Direction, 29%; Wrong Track, 61%; MOE: +/- 3.1%"]

OBAMA: Even though our businesses are creating new jobs and have broken record profits, nearly all the income gains of the past ten years have continued to flow to the top one percent.

TODD: While unemployment has fallen during his presidency, from a high of 10 percent to 7.6 percent today, these folks at a Florida jobs fair this week are still frustrated.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: You can send out a hundred resumes and you never get a response. There are still many people out there looking for job.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: Right now, it's terrible. It's – it's really terrible. You can do a lot better.

TODD: Back in Illinois, the President's talk wasn't just all about the economy. He also blamed Republicans in Congress for obstructing his agenda and constantly trying to repeal his signature health care law.

OBAMA: Stop taking meaningless repeal votes and share your concrete ideas with the country. (audience applauds)

TODD: On this point, the public agrees with the President. Fifty-six percent called congressional Republicans 'too inflexible' when dealing with the President. Only 19 percent believe they are striking the right balance.

[NBC News Graphic: "NBC News/ The Wall Street Journal, July 17-21, 2013; Republicans And The President: "Too Inflexible", 56%; "Too Quick To Give In", 18%; "Right Balance", 19%; MOE: +/- 3.1%"]

Still, the public is not very optimistic about the President's second term. Just 43 percent think he can be effective. A majority – 53 percent – believe he won't be able to get much done. But the President pledged to try.

[NBC News Graphic: "NBC News/ The Wall Street Journal, July 17-21, 2013; President's Last Three Years: Can Be Effective, 43%; Won't Get Much Done, 53%; MOE: +/- 3.1%"]

OBAMA: The only thing I care about is how to use every minute of the remaining 1,276 days of my term to make this country work for working Americans again. (audience cheers and applauds)

TODD (on-camera): And, you know, Brian, one of his big challenges in the next six months is implementing health care. And right now, all-time record low of people in our poll thinks his health care is – law is a good idea – just 34 percent – so he's got a lot of challenges on his plate.

WILLIAMS: Chuck Todd covering it all here with us in our New York studios. Chuck, thanks.

— Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.