I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with polling. On the one hand, it seems reasonable to want a snapshot of how the public feels about issues and candidates at any given moment; it’s easy to understand why political strategists and activists desire such information. Taking polls from a number of sources, as a site like RealClearPolitics does, helps to overcome the inevitable weaknesses, sampling errors, and perhaps deliberate bias of individual polls.
On the other hand, polls are often a cheap tactic to manufacture news, and there’s always the question of creating feedback loops, as people respond to media coverage of polls and change their opinions to conform with a perceived majority. Opinions change over time. Should our representatives be working to move the polls, as leaders, or trying to follow them?
With those caveats in mind, it’s interesting to see polls for both President Obama and ObamaCare cratering. ABC News/Washington Post has Obama at 41 percent approval, with “strong” disapproval 17 points higher than strong approval – the lowest numbers of his presidency in that poll, showing both an erosion of his core support and rapidly growing strong opposition. ObamaCare gets 44 percent support, a drop of 5 points from their last poll, and a whopping 60 percent (correctly) blame the “Affordable” Care Act for rising health care costs.
And the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll for April puts ObamaCare at 38 percent approve, 46 percent disapprove, with no measurable lasting effect from Obama’s “7 million signups” victory lap on April Fool’s Day. Also, detonating a frequent talking point from ObamaCare apologists – which has been used to justify even more taxpayer money wasted on advertising the ACA boondoggle – only 14 percent of the uninsured seemed unclear about how the individual mandate worked; the rest say coverage is still too expensive for them, or they were unable to purchase coverage.
Considering the staggering level of media hype given Obama’s “victory lap,” and the almost total absence of actual journalism on the subject (i.e. Big Media relayed those cooked numbers from the Administration without question) these are some remarkably bad poll numbers. The “ObamaCare cannot be repealed” argument looks increasingly threadbare – the American people still hate it, they’re not falling for any of the Administration’s propaganda about how successful it is, they haven’t forgiven Obama for the disastrous rollout or the Big Lies about keeping our insurance and health care providers, and they’re very interested in giving the Republicans a shot at creating something better. Obama’s personal unpopularity, and the growing sense of fatigue with Democrat rule, will make things rough for ObamaCare dead-enders.
And even if the logistics of passing an ObamaCare repeal bill before 2016 are unworkable – there’s no way Obama would fail to veto it, no matter how bad his polls look – the Republicans should make him use that veto pen after they win the Senate. Make him pay the price – make his whole party pay a price such as history has rarely seen – for what they inflicted on the American people. There’s no better way to set up a good year in 2016 than forcing Democrats to spend 2015 defending the indefensible.