We're going to be hearing a lot about a new poll conducted by Zogby that shows "57 percent agreed with a statement that Congress should start over."
Of the more than 2,500 people surveyed from Jan. 29 to Feb. 1, 57 percent agreed with a statement that Congress should start over -- which is exactly what Republicans are demanding and what President Barack Obama insists he will not do.
Moreover, 56.4 percent of people indicated they would prefer Congress to tackle healthcare reform on a step-by-step basis, not take the comprehensive approach as embodied in the legislation that passed the House and Senate last year but has stalled fore the past month.
Take this with a block of salt: it's Zogby, as Markos has said, "the least credible pollster in the world, one that I've long-ago learned to ignore whether I like his results or not." A far more credible poll taken just last week for ABC/WaPo showed that two-thirds of those polled want comprehensive reform.
Republicans are going to play this one to the hilt. Chuck Grassley is already at it, telling reporters today "the chances of returning to health reform 'are not very good unless the White House is willing to start over.'" Starting over, as Dems know very well, is not an option, regardless of what Zogby and the Republicans say.
But assume that this Zogby poll does show one thing, something that we pretty much already knew, that the electorate is worn down and frustrated with the process. Obama and Congressional Dems still need to hold firm and get this done, through reconciliation in the Senate on a sidecar bill that will clear the way for the House to pass the Senate bill. House leaders have said again and again that they can pass the bill when they know there's a fix. There's support in the Senate for reconciliation.
As for public support, there's frustration now, but finishing the job is pretty much the only way to dissipate that. The perception that Dems are unable to act is what got us into this mess. Passing the bill without the Republicans is both the reality of how it has to happen, and a political opportunity for Dems, if they're willing to make it one. They can get a two-fer out of it--pass the bill without them and get credit for getting it done and demonstrate to the American electorate that the only way to make progress against the obstructionist Republicans is to roll over them.