A new poll by Gallup showed Obama’s approval rating at a record low of 46 per cent since taking office.
Independents and Republicans have grown wary of health care reform as an expensive government venture.
Obama set Democratic leaders in Congress a deadline of March 18 to coral the votes necessary to pass health care without any support from Republicans, by using a procedure known as budget reconciliation.
He was due to leave on the same day for Guam, Indonesia and Australia. Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world where Obama spent four years as a boy.
But with the future of health care change now in critical condition the White House has decided Obama needs to stay in Washington to twist arms in Congress. A likely target will be up to 12 Democrats who say they will not vote for the proposed bill because it doesn’t prevent federal funds being used for abortions.
Polls continue to show more people are against the sweeping changes he is proposing than for. His plans would be financed by slowing the growth of government-run health care for the elderly and raising taxes.
Two leading Democratic pollsters yesterday criticized Obama for being deaf to public opinion. Patrick Caddell and Doug Schoen, who conducted polls for former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton respectively, wrote in the Washington Post that the “blind persistence in the face of reality” of Obama and his advisers ran the risk of “unmitigated disaster in November”, when midterm elections will be held.