Thirty-five percent (35%) of American voters say passage of the bill currently working its way through Congress would be better than not passing any health care reform legislation this year. However, a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that most voters (54%) say no health care reform passed by Congress this year would be the better option…
Among those not affiliated with either major party, 23% would like the Congressional reform to pass while 66% would rather the legislators take no action.
Voters who earn less than $20,000 a year are evenly divided but a majority of all other voters would prefer no action. Middle income voters, those who earn from $40,000 to $75,000 a year, are most strongly in favor of taking no action.
Assume opposition ticks up to 60 percent, which is probably the ceiling. Would that really stop it, as Ace expects? Passing a bill with a public option would alienate the center, passing a bill without one would alienate the left, but passing nothing — while enjoying a supermajority in Congress — would be unthinkable. The obvious analogy is to the GOP failing to pass social security reform in 2005 despite controlling both branches, but this would be worse: The Democrats’ advantage is bigger, they have the media on their side, and social security was never a policy showpiece for Bush the way ObamaCare is for The One. If they can’t buy off enough progressives and Blue Dogs to pass this, either with pork or with secret promises that whatever passes will/won’t eventually lead to single-payer, the Democratic coalition will appear ungovernable and the myth of transformational Hopenchange will be shattered — which I suspect will feed a backlash even among voters who don’t want them to pass anything. No wonder that party elders are already massaging the nutroots about accepting compromise. Something’s going to pass. It simply has to. The only question is what.
Exit question: How much of a risk is there really of Obama alienating the left? Granted, the O-bots in Organizing for America who are already tired and complacent won’t take kindly to The One telling them it’s time to MoveOn.org from health care. But if the big fear is of a galvanized nutroots launching primary challenges against Blue Dogs who vote against ObamaCare (or any version of ObamaCare with a public option), then the more likely a GOP wave next year seems, the dicier that becomes for liberals. Do they really want to drag a centrist congressional incumbent to the left in a primary when the country’s trending right? Better to leave them alone and follow the Barney Frank approach of accepting a bill that’s half a loaf and then trying to leaven it afterwards until it becomes single-payer.