Obama gloats: Let's face it, ObamaCare is more popular than Trump is

So that’s why he’s getting $400,000 per speech from Wall Street. They’re paying him to show up and epically troll the world’s grand master of trolling.

I knew he’d spar with Trump eventually but I didn’t expect this groin punch so soon after he returned from his deserted island getaway. Going after Trump for his polling and his failure to undo O-Care is hitting him where he lives:

As Republicans in Washington sputtered again this week in their efforts to undo the law, Obama noted to an audience in midtown Manhattan that “the Affordable Care Act has never been more popular — and it’s more popular than the current president,” according to a person in the room who paraphrased the comments…

While many Republicans have publicly said they don’t like the health care law, Obama said according to the person in the room, they are now confronting the fact that many of their most vulnerable constituents have benefited from it.

Trump is less popular than ObamaCare: True or false? Well, the RCP average has him at 43.1 percent approval today, very close to where CNN has him (44). Meanwhile, two different poll averages of ObamaCare’s approval have support for the law at 49 percent, also right in line with CNN’s numbers (47). RCP sees O-Care’s approval at 49.1/42.4 while HuffPo puts the law’s favorability at 49.0/40.9. The Kaiser poll, which is included in HuffPo’s average, measures ObamaCare’s favorable rating at 48/41. In all three cases, the surge from net negative popularity to net positive has been recent: Kaiser and HuffPo each saw it shift in December of last year while RCP picked it up in late January of this year. Fear of further upheaval in the insurance market as a new administration took power probably pushed some undecideds and soft opponents into the soft support camp. And some far-leftists who’ve been knocking ObamaCare for years for not doing more to create socialized medicine may have swung around to backing it, circling the wagons around the law as it came under attack from Republicans.

The dismal failure to repeal ObamaCare has left some Republican opponents of the law demoralized too, of course:

Three months ago, just before Donald Trump took office, about half of Americans said it was very likely that the new President, armed with a Republican majority in both houses of Congress, would repeal and replace the law known as Obamacare.

Now, after multiple unsuccessful efforts to fulfill that campaign pledge, a new CNN/ORC poll finds just 20% say it’s very likely the President and Republicans in Congress will fulfill that promise

The 30-point drop in the share seeing repeal and replace as “very likely” means even the Republican laity isn’t so sure a deal will get done. Just 29% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say it’s very likely, down from 67% who thought Trump would get it done in January. Democrats and Democratic-leaners have grown more skeptical as well, with 10% in that group saying it’s very likely now, down from 36% in January. Obamacare itself continues to draw mixed reviews, according to the poll, with 47% in favor of it and 48% opposed.

As for what O said about some vulnerable House Republicans fearing their constituents would be unhappy to see ObamaCare go, er, yeah, if you read Byron York today, you know that’s true too. (“A pure repeal would get less than 200 votes,” one Republican told York. “It really is one of the biggest political shams in history — many of these members would not have been elected without promising repeal, and now they are wilting.”) Makes me wonder if this really was idle trolling by Obama at a private event or if, by taunting Trump and knowing it would leak, he was hoping to bait the White House into doubling down on the fading repeal effort. Obama knows the GOP replacement bill is highly unpopular; the more time Republicans can be made to spend on it, the better it is for Democrats. Maybe Trump will be so angry when he hears what O said that he’ll try to strongarm House moderates into backing the bill notwithstanding the risk that would pose for them back home. There may be method to this trolling madness.

By the way, as regards Obama’s $400K payday and the angst it’s causing on the left, I haven’t seen much attention paid to the fact that O’s getting twice what Bill Clinton averaged per speech and more than twice what George W. Bush averaged. There’s a lot that goes into that — paydays may be higher now than in the last decade, Obama has a celebrity stature that not even Clinton can match, and of course he was in a position of great power more recently than Clinton or Bush were. It could be, though, that the fact that Democrats are momentarily leaderless and therefore Obama exerts outsized influence on the party even as an ex-president is contributing to his rate. And if it is, then the defense isn’t as strong that there’s no real harm in a former public official cashing in the way there was when a potentially future public official like Hillary Clinton was taking speech-fee bribes on Wall Street before running for president. If O’s still helping to steer the party then it’s in the interest of special interests to make sure he’s happy with them. In that sense, Clinton’s fees and Obama’s fees aren’t entirely dissimilar.

Let’s tie this post up in a bow by bringing Trump’s polling and Hillary Clinton’s past together in one link. Read this analysis by Clinton 2008 strategist Mark Penn on why public approval of Trump may in reality be a bit higher than the 43-44 percent he scores in most surveys. Given the rock solid support among his base, Penn argues, he’s probably closer to 48 percent. Which would make him about as popular as ObamaCare is.

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