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Obamacare Taking on Water

The case for repeal grows stronger.

1:30 AM, May 28, 2010 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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These revelations appear to have taken a toll.  Together, they seem to have made a notoriously unpopular law significantly less popular.

In its May poll (conducted from May 11-16), Kaiser Health detected a noticeable decline in ObamaCare’s popularity.  Almost alone among the polls, the monthly Kaiser poll had never showed ObamaCare facing a public-opinion deficit at any time this year.  This is partly because Kaiser polls all Americans — not merely registered or likely voters — and ObamaCare polls better among the politically disengaged.

In April, Kaiser showed that the gap between ObamaCare’s supporters and its opponents was 3 percentage points — in ObamaCare’s favor.  Now, in May, it shows that gap to be 6 percentage points in the other direction — a 9-point swing in just one month.  (In a poll of likely voters, released in May but not in April, Kaiser shows ObamaCare to be facing a 10-point deficit.)  Movement from last month has been even greater among those with strong sentiments, as the gap between those who strongly support the overhaul and those who strongly oppose it has widened from 7 points (30 to 23 percent) to 18 points (32 to 14 percent).  Furthermore, only 44 percent now say they are “confused” by the law, compared to 55 percent last month.  To know ObamaCare is apparently not to love ObamaCare.

Condemningly, Politico writes that the Kaiser poll “suggests the accelerated implementation schedule has failed to sway a skeptical public — or even keep health reform’s most ardent supporters on board.”  Supporting Politico’s statement, the percentage of Americans who strongly support the law has dropped from 23 to 14 percent in just one month.

Rasmussen, whose poll includes only likely voters, has recently registered a similarly dramatic shift against ObamaCare.  In the first eight weeks following the overhaul’s passage, Rasmussen showed strong and consistent support for repeal.  The average gap between those who supported repeal and those who opposed it was 16 points, and it was never lower than 12 points or higher than 20.  This week, the gap has ballooned to 31 points.  Americans now favor repeal by a margin of almost 2-to-1, with 63 percent favoring repeal and just 32 percent opposing it.

A more detailed look at the numbers provides even more encouragement for those who are actively pushing for ObamaCare’s repeal.  Independents support repeal by a full 50 percentage points:  72 to 22 percent.  The number of voters who “strongly” favor repeal (46 percent) dwarfs the number who oppose it even “somewhat” (32 percent).  Fewer than half of the President’s own party is against repeal (49 percent).  And, per capita, it’s easier to find a Democrat who supports repeal (36 percent of them do) than any voter — regardless of party — who opposes it (only 32 percent do).  By a margin of at least 15 points, every income group except for those making less than $20,000 a year (who oppose repeal by 8 points) supports repeal, with those making between $20,000 and $40,000 supporting it by the widest margin:  49 points.

Perhaps the most ominous sign for President Obama and the Democratic Congress is evidence that younger voters are jumping ship.  In the first eight weeks after passage, an average of 58 percent of likely voters under age-30 supported repeal — 2 points higher than voters as a whole.  This week, 70 percent of them support repeal — compared to 27 percent opposed, for a margin of 43 points.  The only group that’s even more supportive of repeal, at 72 percent, is those in their 30s.  But, in truth, every age-group is overwhelmingly supportive of repeal; it’s just a question of degree.  The smallest margin in support of repeal, logged by those between the ages of 50 and 64, is 19 points.

President Obama talked a lot about the need to pass ObamaCare and put it in the history books.  Americans are now making it clear that they want to relegate ObamaCare to the history books.

And once it is gone, there will be no shortage of ideas that can replace it — ideas that will actually lower health costs, make health care more accessible for all, and not compromise quality.  A fine example was presented in these pages two weeks ago by Peter Hansen, who wrote that the truly effective way to lower health-care costs is to give people the opportunity and incentive to shop for value — for the highest-quality care, at the lowest-possible prices.

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