In the wake of Republican Scott Brown's victory in Tuesday's U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts, the majority of Americans (55%) favor Congress' putting the brakes on its current healthcare reform efforts and considering alternatives that can obtain more Republican support. Four in 10 Americans (39%) would rather have House and Senate Democrats continue to try to pass the bill currently being negotiated in conference committee.
The USA Today/Gallup poll was conducted Jan. 20 to gauge initial reaction from Americans to Brown's victory in the special election to fill the remainder of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's term. Massachusetts voters elected a Republican to the Senate for the first time since 1972. Americans widely agree that the election result has national political implications -- 72% say it reflects many Americans' frustrations, which the president and members of Congress should pay attention to, while 18% believe it is a reflection of political conditions in Massachusetts.
Brown campaigned against the healthcare reform efforts and promised if elected to be the crucial 41st Senate vote against it, which would allow Republicans to successfully block its passage.
According to the poll, most self-identified Democrats (67%) want Congress to continue working toward passage of the bill. However, an even larger majority of Republicans (87%) call for suspension of Congress' current work on the bill. The majority of political independents, whose support has been crucial to recent Republican election victories in Massachusetts, Virginia, and New Jersey, would also prefer to see the reform efforts put on hold rather than moved forward. (CONTINUES HERE AT GALLUP)