The latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll indicates that independents like the sound of “Obamacare” even less than they like the sound of the “health reform law.” By a margin of 11 percentage points (43 to 32 percent), independents have an “unfavorable,” rather than a “favorable,” view of the “health reform law.” By a margin of 19 points (52 to 33 percent), they have an “unfavorable,” rather than a “favorable,” view of “Obamacare.”
Misleadingly, Politico reports this polling as follows:
“People feel pretty strongly about Obamacare, but what about the ‘health reform law?’ Not as strongly, it turns out. This month’s Kaiser Health Tracking Poll found that 73 percent of Democrats said they have a favorable opinion of ‘Obamacare,’ while 58 percent said the same when asked about the ‘health reform law.’ Republicans had a 76 percent/86 percent unfavorable reaction when asked the same thing.”
But Politico flipped the Republican tally around. In fact, the poll says that 86 percent of Republicans have an unfavorable opinion of “Obamacare,” while only 76 percent have an unfavorable opinion of the “health reform law” — not vice versa.
Overall, Kaiser’s polling indicates that the “health reform law” fares about equally well as “Obamacare.” However, that’s only because (as noted) Democrats, for whatever reason, have a much more favorable view of “Obamacare” than of the “health reform law” — and because Kaiser weights its polling to include far more Democrats (30 percent) than Republicans (22 percent).
But it’s the response among independents that matters most. Repeal won’t be fueled by Democratic voters. It will be fueled by Republicans voters’ determination and independent voters’ support — both of which are strengthened, at least according to Kaiser, by calling Obamacare by its popularly known name.
What Republicans clearly shouldn’t call Obamacare is “the Affordable Care Act” (or “the ACA”) — the cutesy shorthand version of the legislation’s bureaucratic-sounding official name: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). If some Republicans really can’t stomach saying “Obamacare,” or don’t feel comfortable using the term in mixed company (that is, when Democrats are present), they should at least refer to it as “the health care overhaul” or the clunky-sounding “PPACA.”
But, really, they should call it “Obamacare” — as in, “To preserve our liberty, the quality of our health care, and our nation’s fiscal solvency, we must repeal Obamacare.”