Public Health Care Reform Opposition Withers

As the AP reports, and we’ve been confidently predicting for…best not to gloat:

Strong opposition stands at 30%, close to the lowest level registered in Associated Press-GfK surveys dating to September 2009…

Opposition to the law remains strongest among Republicans: 71% say they are against it, compared with 35% of independents and 19% of Democrats. Republicans won control of the House partly on their promise to repeal what they call “Obamacare.”

But as the House prepares to vote on repeal this week, public support for that has flagged. Only about 1 in 4 respondents said they wanted to do away with the law completely. Even among Republicans, repeal draws markedly less support than it did a few weeks ago: 49%, compared with 61% after the November election…

Here you see the result of the time since passage of federal health care reform legislation, and the demystification of the new law’s effects, that we’ve been telling you for over a year can only result in a turnaround in public support. In a way, it’s simple: the Republican opposition to health care reform became sufficiently detached from reality that the public was certain to start pulling back from their irrational, emotional dislike for the bill, as soon as the politics surrounding it began to deflate. That process began after the bill was passed, and has sped up since the elections.

This is why we said repeatedly last year, while acknowledging the short-term political damage Democrats were likely to suffer for reforming health care, that the 2010 elections were in all probability the only elections that Republicans would be able to win by opposing it. On the day after the bill was passed, we quoted leading conservative strategist David Frum, whose warning to his colleagues on the right seems even more prescient as the House GOP takes up their meaningless, DOA-on-passage health care repeal vote this week:

No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

We know a couple of freshman Republicans from Colorado, both of whom ran on a pledge to repeal “Obamacare” and will in all probability be running in perfectly competitive districts in 2012, who should be looking very hard at these poll numbers–and the trajectory of polling on the issue since passage–and thinking about whether joining in the last gasp of reform opposition histrionics we’re likely to see, as public opinion shifts out from under them…is really a wise career move.


65 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Diogenesdemar says:

    I say:  “Please, sirs, allow me to introduce you to some folks you’re going to get to know real well soon.  If I may, meet Mr. Rock, and over here, Ms. Hardplace.

    Have a nice time, boys.”

    • BlueCat says:

      The 43% figure that wanted the reform to be more extensive.  I’ve always felt that the fact that a great chunk of disapproval comes from those who don’t think it goes far enough, especially in not providing a public option, has always been ignored by MSM pundits who just lumped all the disapproval into one category implying that the public was objecting because it was seen as way too lefty. Not exactly.

      And, in the wake of all the post-Tucson discussion and the positive reception of Obama’s speech at the memorial and the generally friendly response to Udall’s suggestion for mixed seating at the SOTU, doesn’t the title, something like “Repealing the Job Killing Health Care Reform Act”, sound even more juvenile and petty than it did a couple of weeks ago?

      I think that, while the shrinking wacko Rush and Palin loving base still loves to hear nasty childish carrying on about bullets over ballots and second amendment solutions to the problem of not getting all you want out of legitimate elections, there is a growing public yearning for our elected officials to start acting like sensible, decent grown ups and focus on getting useful things done.

      The Rs now seem to be trying to find a way to bend a little bit to that without losing too much fringe. This would be a great time for Dems to come out of their usual defensive (we’re really not a bunch of socialist weaklings even though the big strong Rs say mean things about us) crouch, stand tall and rev up a message juggernaut of their own.  

      • AristotleAristotle says:

        And as I’ve said before, an overwhelming majority of the country do NOT oppose it on the basis of being a “new gov’t bureaucracy” or whatever that particular meme has been. Most Americans do NOT oppose that kind of government.

        If a large number of Americans oppose large government expenditures and the deficits, what needs to end is pork, and Americans are going to have to own up to the fact that they all benefit from pork and have to be willing to sacrifice it there.

        (My favorite Michael Moore moment was from the mid 90s, when he took his TV show to a 4th of July parade in Gingrich’s district in support of “getting government off your back” by calling for the shutdown of all the pork projects present there. The looks on the faces in the crowd were priceless.)

        Americans are otherwise quite content with “big government” and “entitlements” and all the other stuff. Righties who believe the 2010 elections were a validation of their ideology are about to be sorely disappointed.

  2. Laughing Boy says:

    Withering can happen when you take a poll that doesn’t ask for likely, or even registered voters, and then take a 12 percentage point smaller sample or Republicans that the previous poll.

    Nice try, though.

    • The poll covers from Sep. 2009, when opposition was at its peak (and likely voter screens weren’t yet in place).  It also compares Republican support levels against Republican support levels, invalidating your concern for smaller Republican sample levels.

      It’s likely that some of the withering is coming from the elderly, who as of this year get some coverage for their medication “donut hole”.  And some of it is probably coming from people who are covering their college kids.  And some of it is probably coming from small business owners who now get tax breaks for covering their employees.  And…  you get the idea.  Most of the reform proposals are popular.

      • Laughing Boy says:

        It’s a bullshit poll.  And a bullshit law.  People still hate it.

        As one would expect — with the same percentage of Democratic-leaning respondents having been surveyed both times — the level of support for Obamacare remained essentially unchanged: 41 percent supported it previously; 40 percent support it now. Just as unsurprisingly, when the percentage of Republican-leaning respondents dropped by 12 points, the level of opposition to Obamacare dropped by 11 points (from 52 to 41 percent).


  3. A new Marist poll (WashPost article) showing the following:

       Which one of the following comes closest to your opinion about what Congress should do with the 2010 health care law:

       Let it stand: 14

       Change it so it does more: 35

       Change it so it does less: 13

       Repeal it completely: 30

    Looks like stronger reform has the plurality, and “keep it or make it stronger” comes closest to a majority of any sane combo of the four answers (“more” and “repeal” not being a sane combo…).

  4. bjwilson83 says:

    The poll is so skewed it’s not even funny. 48% Democrat to 34% Republican? It should be more like 60% Republican to 40% Democrat based on the last election.

    • You might want to use actual numbers from the poll. 42% Democrat (includes 14% Independent, Lean Democrat), 36% Republican (includes 11% Independent, Lean Republican), 6% Independent (no lean), 16% DK/NA.

      That tracks with the poll’s historical trends.  And it is a better showing for Republicans than during Sep. 2009 when opposition was strongest.

      You’re a mathemetician – see my link above and READ THE POLL.

      • AristotleAristotle says:

        The people who think for him have already given him his talking point, and he’s delivering it like he’s supposed to do.

      • bjwilson83 says:

        I was reading an older poll. Still, the numbers were biased.

        • Ralphie says:

          with more of his bogus polls.

        • Diogenesdemar says:

          “The War on Logic”, January 16, 2011, New York Times

          Given that their minds were made up from the beginning, top Republicans weren’t interested in and didn’t need any real policy analysis – in fact, they’re basically contemptuous of such analysis, something that shines through in their health care report. All they ever needed or wanted were some numbers and charts to wave at the press, fooling some people into believing that we’re having some kind of rational discussion. We aren’t

          (my emphasis)

          • BlueCat says:

            But they sure are interested in setting Issa loose to do punitive investigations.  Issa may find out that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t initiate all that many investigations:

            In 1997, he decided to run for the United States Senate. His impressive background-working-class high-school dropout, Army officer who helped protect the President, and self-made high-tech tycoon interested in law and order-helped him attract some of the best campaign operatives in California. He started out by spending two million dollars on radio ads. One of the first declared, “Sometimes people mispronounce his name, but, once you get to know Darrell Issa, you discover this is a life with more great chapters yet to be written.”

            Issa didn’t even win the Republican primary. Although he outspent his main opponent, Matt Fong, the state treasurer, by some nine million dollars, he lost by five points. His campaign fell apart after a burst of investigative reporting raised serious questions about his honesty and his past. Many politicians have committed indiscretions in earlier years: maybe they had an affair or hired an illegal immigrant as a nanny. Issa, it turned out, had, among other things, been indicted for stealing a car, arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, and accused by former associates of burning down a building.

            In May of 1998, Lance Williams, of the San Francisco Examiner, reported that Issa had not always received the “highest possible” ratings in the Army. In fact, at one point he “received unsatisfactory conduct and efficiency ratings and was transferred to a supply depot.” Williams also discovered that Issa didn’t provide security for Nixon at the 1971 World Series, because Nixon didn’t attend any of the games.


            and, of course, the car stealing story is always fun, too.

              • BlueCat says:

                The theft, the arson, the lies or the sorry military record? While unsatsfactory conduct doesn’t sound all that serious, in the military it’s pretty damning. Looking forward to all of it being discussed constantly in the media as Issa proceeds with the threatened non-stop stream of investigations. Go Issa, indeed.

                • Ralphie says:

                  Not today’s media.

                  They’ll be distracted by a new shiny object each time Issa holds a hearing.

                  • BlueCat says:

                    All the dirt, not yet much of a blip on the public’s screen will make for some pretty good new shiny objects. These are fun stories. But here’s something to enjoy while it lasts:

                    In post-Tucson polls Obama approval hits 53% and 54% ( Post-ABC and CNN) with lowest disapproval since March 2010. But how about this piece of the polling?

                    In the Post-ABC poll, 78 percent of Americans said they approve of how Obama has responded to the shooting, including 91 percent of Democrats and 71 percent of Republicans. Sarah Palin does less well, with 30 percent saying they approve of how she responded to the shooting while 46 percent said they disapprove of her response.


                    I realize that Rs approving of Obama’s response in this case, as even Glen Beck did, doesn’t mean they’ll be voting for the guy but the happy dance over 2012 GOP hegemony may be just a taste premature. If nothing else this shows how fast things can change, so best not to make too many even modestly long term predictions or initiate too much victory anticipating celebration.  Naturally, the same goes for Dems.  

                    • Ralphie says:

                      The hearings are new news.

                      I’m just sayin’

                    • BlueCat says:

                      is all I’m sayin’. In a world where people can hardly name any elected officials beyond Presidents and a few really famous Senators, fun scandals, no matter how old, dealing with Issa (a “who’s he” to most) will be sparkly. Sure, interest will fade quickly as each story gets its 15 minutes but there are so many of them and he plans to hog so much spotlight so often with investigations. And you know how the media hates discussing boring stuff like details of investigations (or of policy or legislation – yawn)and can’t resist the slightest chance switch to supermarket tabloid style hooks to wake people up. The Issa stories have it all. Stay tuned.  

                    • Ralphie says:

                      I’m no fan of Issa.

                      But there were no convictions.  And Issa has already used the “old news” defense.  Unless something else happens, there’s nothing to refresh the story.

                      So it might last one news cycle at most.

                      Meanwhile, with his bully pulpit committee chairmanship, Issa gets to refresh his Obama smear campaign weekly, if not daily.

                    • BlueCat says:

                      I never had you pegged for an Issa fan!  I guess time will tell if we get any miles out of Issa’s questionable and fun for talking heads to dish about past or not. And if the fun stories get a refresh every time Issa hits his anti-Obama refresh. Any Dem message machine worth its salt should try to make it so.  

                    • Ralphie says:

                      Whoever wants to keep this before the American public is going to have to commit to some seriously hard work.

                      You refer to “any Dem message machine worth its salt.”  There isn’t one.

                    • BlueCat says:

                      But maybe the new reality will inspire something.  Fingers crossed. This isn’t really a disagreement.  

                • Diogenesdemar says:

                  that guy’s company — LB’ll think that’s a goodun.

  5. Diogenesdemar says:

    As many as 129 million Americans under age 65 have medical problems that are red flags for health insurers, according to an analysis that marks the government’s first attempt to quantify the number of people at risk of being rejected by insurance companies or paying more for coverage.

    So let me see:

    Half the population of the United States under 65 have ratable, or possibly rejectionable, pre-exisiting conditions — Check.

    The HCR provision against rejection (and rating in 2014) by insurers for pre-exisitng conditions is highly popular — Check.

    Insurers have already said that the only way that they are going to be able to meet the nonrejection/nonrating requirement is to have the entire population universe participating.  (It’s either that or a government run single-payer program.) — Check.

    I guess then, if you’re a Republican you can only conclude that HCR repeal votes are going to win you lots and lots of support and admiration????        (Oh, oh, oh, . . . I know . . . let’s call for vote repeal down every month from now until 2012.  That’s a goodun, huh?)

  6. Mike Collins says:

    Health Care Lobbying 2009


    More like opposition bought and paid for.  Works out to about a $1 Million  for all 535 members of congress.  Total lobbying in 2009 was $3.48 Billion. Many gripe about campaign finance laws but if you divide the $3.48 Billion by the 320 million (?) US population it works out to about $10 each per year for every man, woman and child.  I don’t think there is an adequate word or expression that would adequately describe such irresponsible political engagement.  You get what you pay for.

    Lobbying 2009

    Agribusiness $133,550,956

    Communic/Electronics $360,507,691

    Construction $65,490,445

    Defense $136,633,762

    Energy/Nat Resource $419,603,719

    Finance/Insur/RealEst $467,566,818

    Health $545,207,341

    Lawyers & Lobbyists $34,566,238

    Transportation $243,898,024

    Misc Business $560,043,736

    Labor $43,945,735

    Ideology/Single-Issue $156,647,707

    Other $252,108,372

  7. SSG_Dan says:

    …in this newly-found energy to rid our lives of some laws that appear to have “that Socialist Taint,” will the Teapublicans and their Mainstream GOP masters be willing to include a repeal of the Medicare Prescription plan as well?

    Just wondering what those hooting, screeching Teabaggers would do if they found out one of the programs THEY like were on the chopping block…

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