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Poll: Most Give Obama Credit for Health Care Bill

Poll analysis by the CBS News Polling Unit: Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto.

In the days leading up to Sunday's House health care vote, a majority of Americans said the passage of health care reform would be an accomplishment for President Obama, a new CBS News poll shows, even though most people disapproved of the way he has handled the issue and are skeptical of the bill's benefits.

Fifty-five percent of Americans called passing the legislation an accomplishment for the president, the poll found, including 45 percent who said it would be a major accomplishment. Thirty-five percent said it would not be an accomplishment, according to the poll, which was conducted from March 18 - March 21. The House passed the legislation on the night of March 21.

Not surprisingly, political affiliation influenced people's responses. Sixty percent of Democrats called passing the bill a major accomplishment for Mr. Obama while 59 percent of Republicans said it would not be an accomplishment at all. Independents were split, with 40 percent calling it a major accomplishment and 42 percent saying it would not be an accomplishment.

As Congress moved closer to passing the health care legislation, Mr. Obama's approval ratings on the issue improved. Forty-one percent of Americans said they approved of how the president is handling health care, compared with 35 percent a month ago. However, more people still disapproved at 51 percent.

Mr. Obama's overall job approval rating is also slightly up, at 49 percent, compared with 46 percent last month. His approval rating has hovered at or slightly below 50 percent since December.

Opinion of the President remains highly partisan, with eight in 10 Democrats approving of the job he is doing and eight in 10 Republicans disapproving.

More from the CBS News Poll:

Poll: Nearly Half Don't Approve of Health Care Bill
Poll: Low Favorability Ratings For Pelosi, Reid
Poll: Health Care Reform Still Confusing
Read the Complete Poll

More Coverage of Health Care Reform:

Nine Events That Led to Health Care Reform
Analysis: Health Care Debate Shows Ideological Split
Health Care Bill Passed the House, But Battles Ahead in Senate, Court
Washington Unplugged: Obama's Next Task Is Selling the Health Care Bill
Health Care Reform: Which Party Comes Out on Top?
"Baby Killer" Remark Came From Randy Neugebauer
House Passes Health Care Bill
Health Care Bill: What's In It?
Rush Limbaugh: "America is Hanging by a Thread"
Palin: Health Care Vote a "Clarion Call" to Action Special Report: Health Care

This poll was taken as part of CBS News' "Where America Stands" series, an in-depth look at where the country stands today on key topics and an outlook for the future decade.

This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1059 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone March 18-21, 2010. Interviewing was continued Sunday until the House of Representatives voted on the legislation. Phone numbers were dialed from random digit dial samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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