One wild-card in all of this is how Congressman Joe Wilson's shout of "Liar!" when Obama said that his plan wouldn't cover illegal immigrants. Wilson's opponent says he's raised almost $100,000 since that very special television moment aired. Will Wilson help Obama pass a health care bill?
Pro: backlashes do happen. This kind of rank incivility may well make people view the foofooraw at the August town hall meetings in a different, more negative light.
Con: Wilson has already apologized, both in a call to the White House, and in a published statement. Other Republicans have jumped on him. They may succeed in casting this as a lone moment of intemperance from someone temporarily unhinged, rather than a symptom of the broader nastiness in the conservative movement.
Overall, I can't see how this could help triggering sympathy for Obama. But I don't know if the effect will be big enough to make much difference. I do know that the Republicans had better play very, very nice for the rest of this debate.
Update: One commenter argues that this could actually help, by moving the focus to illegal aliens
I think this is a win for Republicans as well, in that it calls attention to a point that Democrats would prefer remains unexamined -- coverage of illegal aliens.
I was not aware of this issue until the post-speech coverage last night. I am sure others will be made aware of this as well.
Possible, but likely? I dunno. I think predicting how these things are going to play out in the news cycle is a generally unrewarding task.