The Kaiser Family Foundation’s latest poll on public opinion of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, has found the law is more unpopular with Americans than ever before. Kaiser found in its July survey that 53 percent of Americans say they have an unfavorable opinion of the law, with just 37 percent saying they have a favorable opinion. That’s among the lowest favorability rating Obamacare has ever received, and it’s the highest unfavorability rating since Kaiser first began its monthly poll of Obamacare in April 2010.
First Impressions: Geographic Variation in Media Messages during the First Phase of ACA ImplementationJuly 21, 2014
Many Americans will learn about the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ACA through the mass media. We examined geographic variation in the volume and content of mass media during the initial two-week rollout of the new health insurance marketplaces in October 2013 across 210 US media markets, using data from the Wesleyan Media Project. We found substantial geographic variation in the volume and tone of insurance product advertisements, political advertisements, and news coverage of the ACA marketplaces. News coverage of the ACA airing in media markets located in states operating federal or partnership marketplaces was more negative than coverage airing in markets located in states running their own marketplaces. Intrastate variation in media volume and content was also substantial and appears distinguishable from the local political climate. Variation in exposure to media messages likely affects public sentiment regarding the ACA and could contribute to geographic differences in insurance enrollment and public perceptions of US health care options. Researchers and policy makers evaluating the implementation of the ACA — and insurance enrollment in the marketplaces in particular — should consider addressing media influences.Freely available online through the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law open access option.
Despite hitting its marks for sign-ups, Obamacare is more unpopular than ever. A Fox News poll last month found that 55% of Americans “wish it had never passed,” while only 38% supported the law.How can that be? Democrats were sure that once they got past the roll-out fiasco and hit their sign-up goals, popular opinion would stabilize.
Politico reports that, despite 357,000 sign-ups in North Carolina, Obamacare “remains a major liability for Sen. Kay Hagan, who faces one of the toughest election races for any Senate Democrat this year.” How can it be that so many North Carolinians have signed-up for Obamacare but still oppose it?
The individual mandate, and the threat of a penalty, drove many sign-ups. A polling report by Perry Undem, an opinion research firm that specializes in health care, found that 40 percent of people in one focus group say they might not have signed up without the mandate…
Of course, the Republicans’ language is unlikely to become law, thanks to the Democrats’ fervent fidelity to their hard-won health care handiwork. But the debate over a delay should, if anything, help the GOP heading into this year’s midterm elections. The party is already expected to do well. Simply by focusing its fire on the mandate, the GOP can refocus the larger health care debate around it, and thus elevate its importance in the campaign.That’s smart politics. Health care is now firmly at the top of voter’s minds, according to research by The Polling Company for FreedomWorks. Full disclosure: I helped conduct this research. Voters usually name “health care” as one of their “top 10” issues. But right now it’s one of the “top three,” along with “jobs / economy” and “government spending.” An unpublished January poll by Heart-Mind Strategies for the Heritage Foundation is even more striking, finding health care to be in the “top one” – that’s right, the No. 1 issue on voters’ minds.It gets better. The Polling Company research finds a solid majority of voters in every category – including the law’s supporters – support a delay of the whole law, not just the mandate. Sixty percent say they favor a delay “to make sure the law is fair and workable for everyone.”
a majority of women still oppose Obamacare. Even the Kaiser Family Foundation, which tends to find results more favorable to Obamacare than other pollsters, has found that more women disapprove than approve of the law.
On Wednesday last week at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing, Sen. Jay Rockefeller suggested that doubts about the Affordable Care Act stemmed from hostility to President Obama “maybe because he’s of the wrong color.” The West Virginia Democratic was recycling a standard line of his party and their allies in the commentariat—a focus on racism, and not on failed policies and performance, as explanation for Mr. Obama’s unimpressive approval ratings. In the campaign summer of 2012, another challenging moment for the president, Chris Matthews enthused that Mr. Obama represented “the perfect American” and could only conclude that Republicans opposed him because “there’s an ethnic piece to this.”
This focus reflects an absurdly inaccurate reading of public opinion that could prove disastrous to Democrats in 2016 and beyond: it’s actually disproportionate minority support, not disproportionate white opposition, that most significantly characterizes Barack Obama’s political career. For those who blame white racism for disillusionment with Barack Obama, exit polls reveal an inconvenient truth: No Democratic nominee since the Ford-Carter election of 1976 got a higher percentage of white voters than did Mr. Obama in 2008.
Progressives and Democrats are no doubt miffed by the ongoing public opposition to their most coveted prize. To ascribe that opposition to racism, however, is itself a form of prejudice.
A charitable, open-minded adult might respond to the public’s rejection of his ideas by re-evaluating them, rather than by taking the self-soothing route of smearing his detractors with charges of racism or guilt by association. Racists aren’t the only people who need to reconsider their priors.