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Obamacare: One Year Later, Even Less Popular

11:41 AM, Mar 21, 2011 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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One year ago today, the then-Democratic House of Representatives openly disregarded the cool and deliberate sense of the people and rammed Obamacare down the American people’s throats. At the time, the Democrats claimed that their bill would become more popular once Americans found out what was in it (a process that, as Democrats explained, required passing it). A year later, polls show that Obamacare’s popularity has declined even further.

Obamacare: One Year Later, Even Less Popular

Take the monthly Kaiser Health Tracking Poll. The Kaiser poll is an outlier poll that almost always indicates stronger support for Obamacare than other polls convey. Shortly after passage, the Kaiser poll actually showed respondents having a favorable, rather than unfavorable, opinion of Obamacare, by a margin of 6 points (46 to 40 percent). Since then, that margin has moved 10 points against Obamacare — from plus-6 to minus-4 — as those with unfavorable opinions (46 percent) have come to outnumber those with favorable ones (42 percent).   

It’s not hard to tell why. The Kaiser poll shows that, in the intervening year, people have become more convinced that Obamacare would raise their health costs and lower the quality of their health care. Shortly after passage, the poll showed that its respondents thought Obamacare would raise, rather than lower, their health costs, by a margin of 12 points (37 to 25 percent). Now, that margin has grown to 19 points (42 to 23 percent). Shortly after passage, the poll’s respondents thought that Obamacare would reduce, rather than improve, the quality of their health care, by a margin of 4 points (27 to 23 percent). Now, that margin has grown to 12 points (32 to 20 percent). 

The most telling thing, however, is this: Even though the poll is heavily skewed toward Democrats, the Kaiser poll shows such unfavorable results for Obamacare. In the current Kaiser poll, 34 percent of the poll’s respondents are Democrats, which essentially matches the percentage of Democrats (35 percent) in the exit polling for last November’s election. Meanwhile, only 23 percent of the poll’s current respondents are Republicans — 12 points below the percentage of Republicans (also 35 percent) in last fall’s exit polls. In fact, the Kaiser poll’s 11-point advantage for Democrats over Republicans is 4 points higher even than the Democrats’ advantage in exit polling during the 2008 election, yet Obamacare’s unpopularity still manages to shine through.

A recent Bloomberg poll has a similar party split — 30 percent Democrats and 22 percent Republicans — and shows similarly bad news for Obamacare. Despite grossly under-representing Republicans, the Bloomberg poll shows that 52 percent of its respondents favor Obamacare’s repeal, while only 42 percent oppose it.

The only poll that regularly screens for likely voters is Rasmussen, and it offers perhaps the worst news of all for Obamacare. In the first Rasmussen poll taken after Obamacare’s passage, likely voters said that they thought the overhaul would be “bad,” rather than “good,” for the country, by a margin of 8 points (49 to 41 percent). A year later, that margin has doubled, to 16 points (50 to 34 percent). Meanwhile, 50 percent of likely voters now think repeal is either “somewhat” (34 percent) or “very” (16 percent) “likely,” while only 37 percent think it’s either “not very” (31 percent) or “not at all” (6 percent) “likely.” So, 94 percent of Americans disagree with the proposition that Obamacare is “not at all likely” to be repealed. What odds would President Obama have put on that a year ago?

The biggest condemnation of all, across 53 consecutive Rasmussen polls, beginning the day that the president signed Obamacare into law and proceeding to today, is that Americans have supported repeal in all 53 of them — and by double-digit margins in all but one of them (the poll of October 4th, in which Americans supported repeal by “merely” 6 points).

In sum, this has not been a good year for Obamacare. In addition to having become even more unpopular with the citizenry, it has been the subject of a successful repeal vote in the now-Republican House of Representatives, and it has been declared unconstitutional (in all or in part) by two federal judges. However, it has been a good year for those who oppose the consolidation of power and money in Washington, who value fiscal solvency, and who cherish liberty. In that spirit, it is well worth revisiting Rep. Paul Ryan’s fine 5-minute speech from one-year-ago today. 

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