Americans overwhelmingly see the new health-care law as a major shift in the direction of the country, but they remain as deeply divided over the changes as they were throughout the long congressional debate, according to a Washington Post poll.

In the days since President Obama signed the farthest-reaching piece of social welfare legislation in four decades, overall public opinion has changed little, with continuing broad public skepticism about the effects of the new law and more than a quarter of Americans seeing neither side as making a good-faith effort to cooperate.

Overall, 46 percent of those polled said they support the changes in the new law; 50 percent oppose them. That is virtually identical to the pre-vote split on the proposals and similar to the divide that has existed since last summer, when the country became sharply polarized over the president’s most ambitious domestic initiative.

The health-care debate galvanized the country to a remarkable extent. About a quarter of all adults say they tried to contact their elected representatives in Congress about health care in recent months, including nearly half of those who say they’re “angry” about the changes. In general, opponents of the measure were more than twice as likely as supporters to say they had made the effort.

But there are signs that Democrats have started to rally, with the party’s base firming up after intense internal battles over so-called public option insurance and provisions covering abortion funding. Fifty-six percent of Democrats now “strongly support” the recently enacted health-care changes; last month, 41 percent were solidly behind the proposals. Eight in 10 Democrats now approve of the way Obama is handling health care, the most since last summer.

Obama’s overall approval rating is at 53 percent in the poll, about the same as it has been in Post-ABC polls in the past several months; 43 percent disapprove.