Rarely outside of polls about gay marriage or marijuana legalization do you see a trend line like this. Good work, O.
How much of that is a reaction to Obama and his pet boondoggle specifically and how much is a product of other forces? The first thing that jumps out is the fact that most of the gains here were made before O was sworn in. The number who say UHC isn’t a federal responsibility bounces from a 13-year low in 2006 to rough parity with traditional levels in 2007 to a new high in 2008 and then actually overtakes the number who say it is a federal responsibility in very late 2008, on the eve of the inauguration. But that doesn’t mean it has nothing to do with O. On the contrary, I think the reason interest picked up in 2007 was because Obama and Hillary were slugging it out over health-care reform in debate after debate, which showed Republicans that the long-dormant liberal initiative to remake the system was coming back with a vengeance in 2009 if the Democratic nominee won the election. What you’re seeing here, in other words, is conservative alarm rising over the prospect of a looming battle — with good reason, as it turned out.
Follow the link above and check the partisan trend lines and you’ll see what I mean. Republican opposition to a big role for the feds in guaranteeing universal health care bounces from 57 percent in 2006 to 78 percent in 2009; opposition among independents rises even more sharply, from 25 percent in 2006 to 54 percent in 2009. My hunch is that that’s because some libertarians and proto-tea-party conservatives started identifying as indies in the run-up to the Obama/McCain “meh” election, which infused the independent demographic with a strong right-wing strain. The question is, how durable is all of this? Is it a sea change in the electorate’s opinion that’ll endure even if a Republican’s elected in 2016 or is it one of those things (like worries about NSA surveillance, I suspect) where each party flips depending upon who controls the White House? It’d be easier to guess if Gallup had data on this question from the Clinton era so that we could see how the numbers change as we bounce from a Democratic administration to a Republican one and back again. As it is, we’re stuck.
If I had to guess, though, I’d guess that there’ll be higher opposition to a federal role in universal health care under the next Republican administration than there was under Bush. For two reasons: Not only will the tea party persist as a small-government check on the GOP establishment but, per Gallup, Democratic opposition to a federal role has increased over the last few years as well. In fact, since ObamaCare was passed in 2010, the rise in opposition has been higher among Democrats than it has among either Republicans or indies. GOPers were at 87 percent then and are at 86 percent now, i.e. -1. Independents were at 49 percent then and stand at 55 percent now, or +6. Democrats, by contrast, are at +8, having moved from 22 percent three years ago to 30 percent now. In 2006, in fact, they were at just 10 percent; their opposition to treating universal health care as a federal responsibility has tripled in the age of Obama. Skepticism about O’s boondoggle is, apparently, driving even the centrists in his own party to become big-government skeptics where health care is concerned. That’s hair-raising stuff for the White House, which is why the lefty commentariat is increasingly at pains to say that it’s the messy public-private nature of ObamaCare, not its government component, that’s produced the rubble all around us.
As a little mood music, via the Corner, here’s Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein claiming (a) that Obama’s Big Lie was merely “a mistake,” not a conscious, years-long effort to deceive in the name of creating political cover for Democrats to pass ObamaCare; (b) that Obama wouldn’t have hammered Bush over one of his mistakes, even though The One started attacking Dubya for the Iraq war in speeches before U.S. troops had set foot in Iraq; and (c) that it is, of course, the country that’s embarrassing, not the Lightbringer. I’m calling this clip “Piers Morgan, Unlikely Voice of Reason.”