The following is a fact-check of the May 23, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX) | 56% of Americans want to repeal the healthcare bill.LIKELY FALSE

SEN. CORNYN:  Sixty percent of the people–I think it’s 56 percent nationwide–believe the healthcare bill that my friend Mr. Menendez and my friend Mr. Sestak support, they want to repeal it because they realize we can’t afford because it raises premiums, raises taxes, and cuts Medicare in order to create a new entitlement program.

OK looking at Cornyn’s statement alone, it is constructed to be LIKELY FALSE. He does not say “a recent poll said” or any other qualifier of the number, just “56 percent nationwide.” Of course it’s virtually impossible that a statement like that, as an absolute, could be true. Putting that aside for a moment what Sen. Cornyn is referring to is a Rasmussen poll which came out last week indicating that 56% of the likely voters they surveyed favored repealing the recent health care bill. In fact another Rasmussen poll out this week puts that number at 63%. In addition, perhaps a minor point, but Rasmussen polled “likely voters” in these surveys, and again Sen. Cornyn did not say “likely voters” he said “Americans.”

Regardless, determining just how many Americans support repealing the health care bill is not as simple as looking at one poll or polls from one firm.  For instance, the national average of polls done by for the last two months indicate that opposition to health care reform is trending down, with 45.6% of the population opposing health care reform while 41% approve, and of the polls that track it, an average of 17.2% either don’t know or have no opinion. In addition a May 6-10 poll by NBC/WSJ indicated that of a surveyed group in which 38% thought the health care bill was a good idea and 44% thought it was a bad idea, only 42% said they would more likely to vote for a candidate who wanted to repeal the bill. (55% said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who wanted to change the bill) An earlier Indiana University poll in mid-April found that 51% supported repealing the bill. And a May poll by (conservative polling firm) Resurgent Republic found that only 35% of respondents agreed with GOP efforts to “repeal and replace” the health care bill.

Now there is not a lot of polling regarding the specific question of favoring repeal of the health care bill, and Rasmussen has looked at it on a weekly basis, but that does not in any way mean that Rasmussen’s results can be taken alone to be an accurate representation of what the overall American population thinks. So not only is Sen. Cornyn’s statement LIKELY FALSE because of its wording, the statistic itself is LIKELY FALSE as well. Polls undoubtedly indicate that the health care bill is still opposed by plurality of Americans, but a statement of fact cannot be made that 56% favor repealing it.

Special thanks to crowd-checker Andrew Tyndall for assisting with this fact-check.

This fact-check to a combined 2 hours.

ED NOTE: This post was corrected: the word “plurality” was inserted for “majority” in the final paragraph.