Rasmussen: 58% now view ObamaCare unfavorably, a new high

That’s the highest number from any poll tracked by RCP on this subject, but if it’s an outlier, it’s a small one. Both Quinnipiac and Gallup have found 55 percent disapproval in the last few weeks, which placed the law 15-16 points underwater. Rasmussen has it fully 20 points net negative. Either it’s a slight outlier or, ominously for the White House, it’s just a bit ahead of the curve in detecting a further downturn after last week’s chaos.

At 38/58, support has dropped seven points and opposition has risen five points in a month. How low can we go?

Eleven percent (11%) of voters say they have been helped by the health care law, but nearly three times as many (30%) say they have been hurt by it. Fifty-four percent (54%) have felt no impact. The number who say they have been helped is down from 15% in October and is the lowest finding this year…

Sixty-six percent (66%) of Democrats continue to view the health care law favorably, although that’s down from 73% a month ago. Ninety percent (90%) of Republicans and 60% of voters not affiliated with either major party have an unfavorable opinion of the law.

Seventeen percent (17%) of voters in the president’s party say they have been helped by the law, compared to three percent (3%) of Republicans and 10% of unaffiliated voters. Forty-three percent (43%) of GOP voters and 32% of unaffiliateds say they have been hurt by the law, but just 18% of Democrats say the same. Democrats are also less likely to say they have had to change their health insurance.

My favorite stat: “Ninety-five percent (95%) of the Political Class have a favorable opinion of the health care law.” The boldfaced split is interesting too, although it’s too early to draw firm conclusions from it. On the one hand, it seems significant that Democrats are evenly divided on whether the law helps or hurts them when the party is otherwise in circle-the-wagons-mode to protect the White House. I would have expected that number to be net positive, just as Democratic views of the law are. On the other hand, if young adults (who skew left) end up enrolling en masse and like their coverage, that’ll move the needle on Democratic support. And what if they don’t like it, and/or feel that they’re being gouged on their premiums? Hoo boy.

Josh Kraushaar of National Journal says the end may come sooner than you think. Is a veto-proof majority in both houses of Congress possible before 2016?

Democrats are in better shape on the Senate side, but not by as much as conventional wisdom suggests. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will do everything in his influence to protect the president — and block embarrassing legislation from being voted on — but not if it means he’ll be losing his majority gavel next year. There are 21 Democratic held-seats up in 2014, with 17 Democratic senators running for re-election. Of those 17, 10 are running in states where Obama won less than 55 percent of the vote, approximately the baseline of where House Democrats began splitting with the president on the Upton vote. Excluding Reid, an additional 15 Democrats aren’t up in 2014, but represent battleground (< 55% Obama) states where support of the law could become a long-term burden. And then there's California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who has emerged as a surprising blue-state critic of the law, retiring Montana Sen. Max Baucus, who famously predicted the implementation was shaping up to be a "train wreck," and retiring moderate South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson. To overcome a veto, Republicans would need 22 of those 28 winnable votes. Right now, they wouldn't come close. But Reid and the White House may end up relying on swing-state Democrats like Claire McCaskill and Bob Casey to protect the law. If the political mood doesn't improve in short order, will they want to be in that position? And if Republicans retake the Senate in 2015, the political momentum for repeal would only grow.

My gut says he’s kidding himself, but so many landmines lie ahead for O-Care that there’s no way to dismiss the possibility out of hand. We may be weeks away from O announcing a delay in the mandate or an extension of the enrollment period; rate shock, part two, will strike in January, as will access shock; young healthies who refused to enroll will start grumbling about the mandate penalty in April; then tremors from within the industry about adverse selection and higher premiums for 2015 will begin shaking newsrooms; and the shadow of small businesses canceling employer-provided coverage will loom over all of it. The GOP got to 261 votes for Fred Upton’s “Keep Your Plan Act” last week, but if Democrats get wiped out next November, it’s not difficult to foresee 290 — a veto-proof two-thirds majority in the House — for some sort of O-Care rollback measure in early 2015. The Senate will be much harder: Not only would you need a GOP landslide next fall, you’d need even Obama loyalists like Reid and McCaskill, who voted to enact O-Care in the first place, to come around on repeal/rollback over the president’s fierce opposition. If things ever did reach a point of such tremendous crisis that 67 votes, at least 10 of which realistically would be Democratic, are in play for repeal, the White House itself would offer some sort of “fix”/rollback that Dems could support for political cover. You’d need a Tunguska-fireball level of disaster for O to ever acquiesce in undoing the law to protect Dems. Highly unlikely — but, given what we’ve seen in the past month, not impossible.

Exit question via David Frum: Republicans wouldn’t actually repeal the Medicaid expansion, would they?

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