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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Brownstein: ACA Repeal Still a Bad Idea to Majority of Voters

The meme-mongers of the Republican’s mighty message machine are not going to like Ronald Brownstein’s National Journal article “Poll: Most Americans Oppose Obamacare Repeal Despite Rollout Troubles,” which reviews the findings of a new United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. As Brownstein explains:

Despite sharp divisions over the long-term impact of President Obama’s health-reform law, fewer than two in five Americans say it should be repealed, virtually unchanged since last summer, the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll has found.
Amid all the tumult over the law’s troubled implementation, the survey found that public opinion about it largely follows familiar political tracks and has changed remarkably little since the summer on the critical question of what Congress should do next. On that measure, support for repeal has not significantly increased among any major group except Republicans and working-class whites since the Congressional Connection Poll last tested opinion on the question in July.

Brownstein goes on to note that major Democratic constituencies remain supportive of the legislation, and “Congressional Democrats inclined to distance themselves from the law in the hope of placating skeptical independent or Republican-leaning voters face the risk of alienating some of their core supporters.” He adds that “A slim 52 percent majority agreed with the negative assessment: “The law is fundamentally flawed and will do more to hurt the nation’s health care system than improve it,” while “…46 percent endorsed the more positive sentiment: “The law is experiencing temporary problems and will ultimately produce a better health care system for the country.”
In terms of demographic breakdown, Brownstein explains:

Since last July’s poll, support for repeal has oscillated only slightly (or not at all) for self-identified Democrats (9 percent now, unchanged since July) and independents (40 percent now compared with 41 percent then); whites (48 percent versus 44 percent) and nonwhites (unchanged at 16 percent); young adults under 30 (unchanged at 26 percent) and seniors (42 percent now versus 40 percent then). The survey recorded a somewhat bigger shift toward repeal among whites without a college degree (up to 53 percent from 46 percent last summer) and self-identified Republicans (74 percent now, from 65 percent last summer). But whites with at least a four-year college degree remained essentially unchanged, with 36 percent now backing repeal, compared with 39 percent in July.
Indeed, like the question over the law’s eventual impact, this measure found clear signs of doubt among the key elements of the modern Democratic coalition, but no indication that they are rushing to abandon health reform: Repeal drew support from just one-sixth of minorities, one-fourth of millennials, and one-third of college-educated white women, the groups on which Democrats now rely most.

You wouldn’t know it from the major TV networks’ uncritical parroting of the GOP’s message du jour, but not much has changed since the rollout in terms of the constituency for repealing the ACA. Most American voters opposed Obamacare repeal during the summer, and they still feel that way today — which is interesting, considering that the Republicans have thrown everything they have at this law, including the rollout glitches.

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