Nothing Succeeds Like Success

Ken AshfordHealth Care, PollsLeave a Comment

One of the oft-heard memes these past few days from Republicans is that the new health care law was "rammed down the throats" of the American people who are (supposedly) "overwhelming against it".  Republicans cited various polls showing that the majority of Americans (albeit not an "overwhelming" majority) disfavored Obama's health care bill.

The problem with making that argument, as I have argued often, is that most people opposed the bill without knowing what was in it.  They've been fed a steady diet of misinformation for months (see, e.g., death panels).  It's no surprise that a thin majority of the public, in some (but not all) polls, disapproved of the bill.

Another problem with that argument is that a certain percentage of the public disapproved of the health care bill…. because it didn't go far enough.  In other words, they wanted a public option, as a recent CNN poll showed:

The initial top-line shows only 39% of registered voters favoring the bill, to 59% opposing it. However a follow-up question finds that 43% oppose it on the grounds that it is too liberal, while 13% oppose it on the grounds that it is not liberal enough. So another way of looking at the data is that 43% oppose it for being too liberal, 39% favor it, and 13% oppose it for not being liberal enough, with another 3% who oppose it for some indeterminate reasons.

But another argument I have been making in recent days is that once people have lived with health care reform, now that it is a law, they will like it.

And, lo and behold, we are already seeing signs of that, in part because the news media is finally beginning to report what the new law will actually do:

Americans by 9 percentage points have a favorable view of the health care overhaul that President Obama signed into law Tuesday, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, a notable turnaround from surveys before the vote that showed a plurality against it.

By 49%-40% those surveyed say it was "a good thing" rather than a bad one that Congress passed the bill. Half describe their reaction in positive terms, as "enthusiastic" or "pleased," while about four in 10 describe it in negative ways, as "disappointed" or "angry."

The largest single group, 48%, calls the bill "a good first step" that should be followed by more action on health care. An additional 4% also have a favorable view, saying the bill makes the most important changes needed in the nation's health care system.

For the past two days, Republicans have made promises to act out "the will of the majority" by making threats to repeal the bill legislatively, or have activist judges overturn it (yes, I know, the irony of it all).

Well, a plurality of the people now favor the new law, GOP.  We're not as "outraged" as you thought.  What are you going to do?

UPDATE:  This graphic shows the breakdown by political affiliation on the question of whether the poll participant was enthused, pleasd, disappointed, or angry.

Important thing to note: independents are split.  Dems need to work on them….