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Can Republicans Read the Polls on Obamacare?

The American people want repeal.

3:36 PM, Apr 8, 2010 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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A CBS News poll shows that ObamaCare's popularity has fallen off dramatically since the day of its passage.  It appears that Americans aren't as inclined to reward politicians for defying them as the Democrats had hoped.  The CBS News poll shows that ObamaCare is now 10 percentage points less popular than it was on the day of its passage.  On March 22, Americans opposed ObamaCare by 11 points (48 to 37 percent).  Now they oppose it by 21 points (53 to 32 percent)

Can Republicans Read the Polls on Obamacare?

And while health care isn't the only game in town, it's certainly the one that most encapsulates what Americans don't like about the Democrats' Washington-centric, profligate ways. The poll shows that President Obama is far weaker on health care than on the economy or foreign policy. Most Americans approve of his handling of foreign policy (although one suspects that his inclination to eschew allies and bow down to enemies will be a major issue in the next presidential campaign), and by a margin of 8 points (50 to 42 percent) they disapprove of his handling of the economy. But they disapprove of his handling of health care by far more -- by the same margin that they disapprove of his legislation:  21 points (55 to 34 percent).

Overall, Americans approve of President Obama's performance by a margin of 3 points (44 to 41 percent), down 5 points from the day of ObamaCare's passage (49 to 41 percent) and down 42 points (68 to 23 percent) from this time last year -- essentially the point at which the health-care debate began. Across the board, independents are even less supportive.  By a margin of 13 points (46 to 33 percent), they disapprove of President Obama's performance, and by the eye-opening margin of 2 to 1 (54 to 27 percent), they disapprove of ObamaCare.

Unsurprisingly, in light of all this, Rasmussen shows that Americans want ObamaCare to be repealed, and that support for the repeal movement has solidified at its current level.  By the same 12-point margin as last week (54 to 42 percent), Americans support repeal.  Forty-three percent of Americans "strongly" support repeal, while only 42 percent oppose it even "somewhat." Even more independents (57 percent) support repeal.  In fact, one gets the impression that the only way that the (full) repeal movement could fail is if the Republican party jumps ship and refuses to champion it, in which case Americans will jump ship en masse from the Republican party.

Furthermore, the reasons why Americans want repeal are evident in both the Rasmussen and CBS News polls: By huge margins, they think that ObamaCare would raise health costs, raise deficits, and lower the quality of care. A recent CNN poll showed that, by a similarly huge margin, Americans think that ObamaCare would entail too much "government involvement," suggesting that Americans are not only concerned for their health and wealth, but also their liberty.

Rasmussen also highlights another all-too-predictable but largely overlooked aspect of ObamaCare:  Seniors hate it.  Since nearly $1 trillion of ObamaCare's roughly $2.5 trillion 10-year tab (from 2014 to 2023) would be paid by siphoning money out of Medicare and spending it on ObamaCare, this is hardly surprising.  And seniors' fondness for the legislation isn't likely to increase once they start getting notices in the mail of cuts to their Medicare Advantage benefits, which should happen soon. Fortunately, two elections stand in between ObamaCare's enactment date and its implementation date, and these same seniors will help decide its fate.

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