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Sweet Sixteen

Americans support repeal by 16 points.

5:25 PM, Apr 27, 2010 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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After more than a month’s worth of polling, this much is clear:  Americans want Obamacare to be repealed, and they’ll reward the political party that strongly champions that cause.  Over the five-week span since the Democrats passed Obamacare, which they did so in clear and open defiance of the American people's will, Rasmussen’s poll of likely voters has shown that Americans favor repeal by 16 points (56 to 40 percent) —more than twice the margin by which President Obama was elected.  These results have been remarkably consistent, varying by only two points in either direction (with 54 to 58 percent supporting repeal, and 38 to 42 percent opposing it).  In this week’s poll, Americans favor repeal by a full 20 points (58 to 38 percent). 

Sweet Sixteen

The percentage of voters who “strongly” support repeal has ranged from 50 to 43 percent, compared with only 34 to 29 percent who “strongly” oppose it.  In this week’s poll, 47 percent strongly support repeal; only 29 percent strongly oppose it. 

Support for repeal is apparent across American society.  In this week's poll, 65 percent of independents support repeal, 55 percent strongly do so.  Eighty-five percent of Republicans support repeal, 71 percent strongly do so.  Even 25 percent of Democrats support repeal, 17 percent strongly do so.  Every income group (six are listed) supports repeal.  Every age group (five are listed) supports repeal, with particularly strong support from those in their 30s (who support repeal by 65 to 27 percent) and seniors (60 to 34 percent).  Among the 18 percent of Americans who support the Tea Party, 94 percent support repeal (from an April 12 poll). 

Given the profound threat that Obamacare poses to American ideals, economic prosperity, and liberty, Republicans should be championing this crucial cause even if Americans were opposed to it by a relatively slim margin — say, five percentage points.  Now there’s a 21-point cushion between that hypothetical scenario and actual reality.  One hopes that such an ample cushion will give the GOP sufficient courage to lead.

Some Republican members are afraid of the popularity of certain provisions in the overhaul, namely the federal requirement that insurers cover all comers at the same price, regardless of expensive preexisting conditions.  Such provisions’ popularity shouldn’t be the cause of much concern.  First, these provisions won’t stay very popular once Americans realize what their effects would be — it’s not that hard to point out that such requirements would raise everyone else’s premiums dramatically, while state-run high-risk pools pose a far more attractive and affordable alternative for those in need. 

Second, this further illustrates why “partial repeal” and “let’s repeal the worst parts of the law” are among the most dangerous phrases in our current political lexicon.  Clearly, the law as a whole is extremely unpopular.  Therefore, the worst thing that Republicans can do is to get bogged down in a debate over whether, or which, isolated provisions should be rescued, rather than debating the merits of Obamacare as a whole.  Obamacare wasn’t passed piecemeal, and it shouldn’t be repealed piecemeal.  It was deliberately crafted as comprehensive legislation, and it should be deliberately repealed as such.  Then, and only then, will real reform be possible.  The call to action should be clear and unwavering in both its goal and its sequence:  “Repeal, and then real reform.” 

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