In November, at the depths of the Healthcare.gov 404pocalypse, support overall stood at 40/57. Today: 49/48 thanks to a collective sigh of relief over the new sign-up numbers from Democrats.
Is that an outlier or an early indicator of a broader shift in O-Care’s polling? I ask because, as of a week ago, most major pollsters still had support for the law deep underwater — Fox News at 40/56, the AP at 26/43, Rasmussen at 42/54, and CBS at 41/53. And all of that followed good news from the White House on March 17 that they’d already hit five million “sign-ups,” whatever that means, and were on pace for at least a million more (which they achieved) before the deadline. If enrollment is goosing popular support, you’d have thought those polls would have seen an uptick by then. Nope. Hmmm.
Maybe Ben Domenech has the answer:
Yep, that’s how ABC/WaPo phrased it. Remove any reference to “ObamaCare” and refer to generic “changes” to the health-care system and the numbers might bump up. Then again, this is the same wording that WaPo used back in November when it got that horrid 40/57 number for O-Care that righties like me touted. There’s been movement within its own numbers even if no one else is picking up the trend. (Yet?)
What if it is a trend, though? Specifically, what if it’s true that the law has become a bit more popular with Democrats now that it’s kinda sorta in range of its original goal of seven million enrollments if you squint real hard and ignore things like nonpayment of premiums and the age mix of America’s many new O-Care risk pools? The better the polling gets, especially among independents, the more reluctant some Republicans in Congress will be to support full repeal later. In fact, forget the polling: If it’s true, as it seems to be, that somewhere between four and six million people now have coverage through the ObamaCare exchanges, the upheaval involved in tossing those millions into a new system yet again if/when the law is finally eliminated may make squishier Republicans blanch. It may be, as both Chuck Todd and Ross Douthat believe, that ObamaCare is here to stay in some form for the foreseeable future. In fact, that was one of Ted Cruz’s key rationales for the “defund” effort last fall — the law had to be stopped before people signed up and grew dependent on the subsidies, since the more reliant they become, the harder it’ll be to take those subsidies away later. The fact that the White House now has millions on the books is a realization of that prophesy, even though more than one election modeler has the odds of Republicans winning the Senate this fall at roughly 80 percent. Obama will trade two years of Republican control for a permanent foothold for his boondoggle.