With "Losing Support" as the on-screen heading, ABC's World News on
Friday night certainly made clear how President Obama is losing favor
with the American people as his approval level and attitudes toward his
health care efforts continue steadily downward so now more are opposed
(50 percent) than in favor (45 percent) and he's suffered a 29-point
drop in agreement with enacting a "public option." But ABC's Kate Snow
still saw a "glass half full" view as she managed to end with a
positive spin for Obama:
It's not all bad news for the President. We didn't find an overwhelming majority against health care reform. Instead, if you look at the glass half full point of view, the country is basically split. About half of Americans still favor reform, and about half still favor a public option.
Also skipped by World News: How, despite the loaded wording in the
question referring to those "angrily protesting at town meetings," a
majority (51 percent) considered the protests "appropriate" versus 45
percent who called them "inappropriate." (Question 16 in the PDF .)
Fill-in anchor David Muir had set up Snow by noting how the ABC News/Washington Post survey "shows an 11-point erosion" since April, to 46 percent, in approval for Obama's handling of health care. On the 50-45 opposed over supportive of health care reform, Snow pointed out: "The intensity of their views matters, too. Only about a quarter [27%] of supporters feel strongly about that support, but 40 percent of opponents are strongly opposed."
After relating how "just 34 percent of seniors in our poll support the proposed reforms" and "support for a public option within health care reform has fallen, too," Snow wrapped up with the "it's not all bad news for the President..." Online, ABCNews.com reported:  "Support for a public option, currently the most contentions element of reform, has fallen from 62 percent in June to 52 percent now; 46 percent are opposed, up 13 points." The PDF of the poll results elaborated: "Nonetheless, that 6-point gap has narrowed substantially from a 29-point advantage in favor of a public option in June."
- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center