December 1, 2011

So, recent polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation show that popular support for the Affordable Care Act is waning. The percentage of those with a favorable view of the reform law has basically sunk to a low of 37%, compared with around 44% holding an unfavorable view. 

KFF Health Reform Polling Data

Obviously, health care reform isn’t the only issue that’s important to voters. But, it’s still really ironic that the two Republican front runners right now are Mitt Romney (aka the guy who basically invented “Obamacare”) and Newt Gingrich, who as recently as 2007 argued in no uncertain terms for a national health insurance marketplace, health care subsidies for low-income families, AND an individual mandate. In other words, Newt supported -nay, urged- congressional action to pass legislation that sounds remarkably like Obamacare. 

WTF?? I thought the ACA was the glaring symbol of all that is wrong with Obama’s big-government, self-loathing, socialist agenda? I thought repealing the ACA was the number one domestic policy priority of the Republican party? How has the GOP spun Obamacare so hard as pure, destructive evil only to then maneuver two candidates into the spotlight who have to outright lie in order to claim opposition to it. 

Maybe this is why:

If you take a closer look at the polling data you realize that Obamacare isn’t quite as unpopular as it seems. Four interesting points from Kevin Drum at Mother Jones

  1. Among those who don’t like Obamacare, nearly half admit that their dislike has nothing much to do with the law itself. They’re just mad at Obama and/or Washington DC.
  2. Only 37% of the public feels favorably toward Obamacare, but 50% want to keep or expand it. It turns out that many of the unfavorable/don’t know opinions aren’t from people who dislike healthcare reform, they’re from people who don’t think Obamacare went far enough. 
  3. Virtually every aspect of Obamacare is viewed favorably by over half the public. The only exception is the individual mandate. Even Republicans, it turns out, like most of the specific provisions of the law. 
  4. A fifth of the public says Obamacare has affected them negatively. But nearly all of this is because people have been convinced that Obamacare has caused their premiums to go up and their benefits down. Needless to say, this is nothing more than a fantasy fueled by Fox News. 

This is a pretty wild strategy. Republicans realize that elements of Obamacare are actually pretty popular, but can capitalize on general resentment of the man by shitting on him for passing it. 

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