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Tilting at Windmills

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March 23, 2010

SUCCESS BEGETS SUCCESS.... Lately, the basis for Republican opposition to health care reform has been public opinion polls. Americans didn't like the Democratic proposal, the GOP argument goes, so it deserved to be defeated. Public attitudes on the plan have underscored every Republican argument for weeks.

And in response, proponents of health care reform have been repeating the same prediction: it will get more popular after it passes.

Reader M.B. let me know about a new national poll that suggests proponents were on to something.

Americans by 9 percentage points have a favorable view of the health care overhaul that President Obama signed into law Tuesday, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, a notable turnaround from surveys before the vote that showed a plurality against it.

By 49%-40% those surveyed say it was "a good thing" rather than a bad one that Congress passed the bill. Half describe their reaction in positive terms, as "enthusiastic" or "pleased," while about four in 10 describe it in negative ways, as "disappointed" or "angry."

The largest single group, 48%, calls the bill "a good first step" that should be followed by more action on health care. An additional 4% also have a favorable view, saying the bill makes the most important changes needed in the nation's health care system.

If Republicans were right, these results would be impossible. Democrats are "ramming through" a proposal that the country hates? Americans will be outraged.

But they're not. In fact, most Americans are apparently pretty pleased with the outcome -- and that's after just one day after the House vote. As more of the country learns that GOP scare tactics were baseless, and hears about the new benefits that kick in this year, the polls will likely improve further.

Making matters slightly worse for Republicans, the same poll found that 46% of Americans believe President Obama's handling of the health care issue has been excellent or good. For the congressional GOP, it's 26%.

This is the Republican nightmare coming to fruition -- the country gets a better system, Democrats get a victory, the president looks like a hero, and the country is pleased with the results.

It's not too late for Republicans to reconsider that "repeal" strategy, if only the party's unhinged base would let them.

Steve Benen 2:50 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (42)

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Comments

Repeal is just too tantalizing of a trainwreck for FOX to pass up.

Getcha popcorn!

Posted by: Cazart on March 23, 2010 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, I'm reader M.B.!

And again, I eat crow for saying the Dems would totally woos out after MA.

Posted by: Eaten Vegetarian Crow on March 23, 2010 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

I noticed traveling with some non political folks that they have a general wait and see approach coupled with a knowledge that the system basically sucks. If it keeps costs down, it will be a major success.

Posted by: JM on March 23, 2010 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

We shouldn't tell the GOP to abandon their repeal strategy. We should let them embrace it. It is to our advantage to let them continue hurting themselves.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 23, 2010 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

I remember with the stimulus bill that the supporters of it-Dems told us unemployment would not go above 8 pct in 2010 and guess what unemployment is now OVER 10 pct. That says it all.

Posted by: Kevin on March 23, 2010 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

The same crowd that gave us the stimulus bill (which hasn't worked) now gave us the health care bill. Wait a minute now all of sudden public opinion polls matter-when it suits a leftist, democrat agenda.

Posted by: Kevin H on March 23, 2010 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

This really is the worst nightmare for Republicans. Why didn't they realized polling on this could be very fluid, especially after it's passage when the media would be forced to focus on policy instead of process.

Not only have they gone all in health care's defeat but they've gone all in on health care's REPEAL, which is an absolutely insane strategy.

Posted by: Archon on March 23, 2010 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Ooh look, a troll. A stupid troll. Who states that the Stimulus Bill didn't work, even though every eminent economist says it did work (and would have worked even better had it not been too small, thanks to the brain dead Republicans).

Oh, and by the way, troll, please educate us as to who is to blame for the worst recession in 70 years. Enlighten us. Share your knowledge. Educate us. We await your pearls of wisdom with baited breath.

Posted by: Steve R on March 23, 2010 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Early demographic on the poll shows overweight in Dems, hardly accurate.

Posted by: Jack Moss on March 23, 2010 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Two Kevins agree: The Stimulus that economists, citizens and even Republicans who voted against it acknowledge helped us avoid a depression is a Democratic failure!

How could it be any clearer than that?

Posted by: Jay B. on March 23, 2010 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

-- Napoleon Bonaparte

Posted by: KTinOhio on March 23, 2010 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

i actually doubt opinion has changed much since passage: i think what has happened is that the 8 - 12% or so of the public who were telling pollsters they opposed health-care reform because they were critiquing it from the left are now being disentangled from the 40% hard-core right-wing opponents.

my guess is that 10 - 20% of the opponents are truly misinformed and will come around, so we'll end up with somewhere in the mid-30s as the hard-core opposition, with a split between a large group that will want to digest this change but think it sounds good and a smaller group that want to forge on to single-payer in some fashion but will accept that at least this bill improves conditions on the grounds.

the kevin hs will, of course, be among the mid-30s group, no matter what the issue. the right-wing haters hate for life.

Posted by: howard on March 23, 2010 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

There it is: 26%. That means that passing health care reform has reduced the Permanently Crazy Minority one point, from the 27% that voted for Alan Keyes over Obama. http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com/2005/10/lunch-discussions-145-crazification.html

Posted by: Dollared on March 23, 2010 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Early demographic on the poll shows overweight in Dems, hardly accurate.

Oh good, another doctorate in statistics!

I wonder, and stay with me here, how much of it is simply because you don't like the results and you wouldn't know the proper weight of a demographic sample if they wrote it down for you.

Now they're stuffing liberal polls down your throat! Poor guy. Now there's barely enough room for Glen Beck's dick.

Posted by: Jay B. on March 23, 2010 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

A co-worker of mine-who leans Democrat told me his dad's health care premiums are going up with this health care bill. He then told me 'I thought this bill was going to make health care more affordable" The real deal with all new mandates on health insurance companies is they don't pay them-policy holders wlll and premiums will increase big time.

Posted by: Kevin on March 23, 2010 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin H. - be sure to never, ever, under any circumstances, relent. Your country needs you.

Posted by: Meep Meep on March 23, 2010 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

oh kevin, my poor child, didn't your parents teach you better to keep your mouth closed and be thought an idiot than to open it and settle the question?

Posted by: howard on March 23, 2010 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

A co-worker of mine-who leans Democrat told me his dad's health care premiums are going up with this health care bill.

And your girlfriend, who lives in Canada, just called to tell you she can't make it down next weekend even though you invited all your friends over to meet her! What are the odds?

Psst -- When making up fake conversations, it's helpful to wait until things actually happen first (i.e. insurance premium rate hikes that have to do with the HCR Obama signed this morning). It speaks to credibility.

Posted by: Jay B. on March 23, 2010 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Ouch!

I'm none of the previous Kevin variants. Guess I'm shopping for a new name...

Posted by: Kevin on March 23, 2010 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Steve - you need to tell Jay B. he MUST provide brain bleach when using the words 'throat' and 'Glen Beck's dick' in the same post.

Posted by: Meep Meep on March 23, 2010 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin! Yes, I remember that incredibly constructive program that the Republicans favored that would have solved the increased premium problem! It was called ... was called ... I think ... the Public Option!

Oh, you say they didn't favor the Public Option -- they didn't present any productive proposals -- they did nothing???? Never mind.

Posted by: David in NY on March 23, 2010 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

A co-worker of mine-who leans Democrat told me his dad's health care premiums are going up with this health care bill.

Well there's a convincing argument. Any other anonymous, secondhand hearsay anecdotes? One more and I might have to rethink my entire belief system.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on March 23, 2010 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” —Napoleon

Posted by: Seth Gordon on March 23, 2010 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

A co-worker of mine-who leans Democrat told me his dad's health care premiums are going up with this health care bill.

Mine too. My insurer raised my premiums this morning because of the bill. I heard another guy's insurer raised his at 11:00 Sunday night. Another thing I heard is that if this bill passed people would realize I'm a fucking idiot.

Posted by: kevin on March 23, 2010 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

On the other hand, this bill did make a lot of people genuinely angry. It will be used as a fund-raiser almost immediately for some GOP candidates -- McCain might have been first out of the starting blocks on this. As with abortion, the candidates will never have any ability to actually stop anything -- but it's still a crowd-pleaser to say you're in favor of repeal.

The real problem for them is that having bitterly angry people on your side doesn't win elections unless you have a lot of them. These were the people who hated Clinton, thought he was a literal murderer and rapist, and wouldn't have predicted that he would serve eight years.

They're only talking to themselves, and they're only getting their news from a few, pre-digested sources. Many of the trolls who have posted here recently have been interesting in that they literally didn't seem to know that HCR was polling 50/50. They accused people of lying when that was said -- of course it had to be more unpopular than that.

Posted by: Rathskeller on March 23, 2010 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Steve,

This is not the Republican's worst nightmare. It is the Republican's Waterloo.

Posted by: Russell Aboard M/V Sunshine on March 23, 2010 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

I think the Repubs are being dragged to defeat this fall. While Americans may be basically conservative, their usually avoid weird (hence GW Bush and the false claim of "compassionate conservative." Like in 1992 when the Pat Buchannan kooks took over the Republican convention and let the world know what in inside their twisted minds, this past few months have met have let the public see what the far right wing is really about.

If I were the Democrats and the President, I would just keep running pics of the demonstrators over and over and ask if this is the kind of America people want their kids to grow up in.

Remember, feel free to kick the repubs while they are down. It's the only way they will stay down.

Meanwhile: I am being dragged to see Sarah Palin on Friday for a McCain rally. It should be interesting to see what she has to say. (To avoid being beaten to a pulp, I'll wear boots, jeans, and a plaid shirt so as to blend in with the rest of the kooky Repubs.)

Posted by: Kurt on March 23, 2010 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

@Kurt. If it's a girlfriend doing the dragging, hope you will at least get laid afterwards. Be sure to act like an adult at the rally.

Posted by: Dave on March 23, 2010 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

Two quick comments:

1. A co-worker of mine-who leans Democrat told me his dad's health care premiums are going up with this health care bill.

Even if this is true, why would it be the fault of the bill? That would be the fault of the insurer, right? I mean, nothing's happened yet other than a signature!

2. The fact that public opinion _already_ shows an increase in favorability is, actually, plausible. There are a number of not-to-knowledgeable folks that are scared of the unknown. So long as HCR was just an idea, they were scared of it. But, well, now that Congress passed it and the Prez signed it, they're thinking, and now that the media is starting to focus on what's in it -- well, gee, it doesn't seem like a half-bad idea!

Posted by: A DC Wonk on March 23, 2010 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

People love a winner and if the Dems get another big win before November I think they could actually gain seats in Congress. The next big issue I would go for is financial reform. Repubs (Boehner, Issa and McCain) have laid down their marker -- no cooperation with Obama. That's it boys stick up for the bankers that damn near drove this county and the world into a depression. I even think Obama could strip off Snowe, Collins, Luger and Voinivich (who is retiring) to support this.

To sell this I would wheel out Paul Volcker. Nothing like seeing McCain debate the "value" of credit default swaps, synthetic CDOs, leverage etc. with probably the most respected financial person in the past 50 years.

As Chairman Volcker said recently "The only financial innovation I have seen in banking in the past 50 years that is worth anything is the ATM."

Posted by: Gym Rat on March 23, 2010 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Be sure to act like an adult at the rally.

Is that the Republican definition or the normal definition of "acting like an adult"?

Posted by: Jay B. on March 23, 2010 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

I think it is interesting that Rasmussen does not have a poll out yet. It has been over 48 hours and still nothing. I wouldn't be surprised that they are massaging the results or are going back into the field to do it again since it came out unsatisfactory.

Posted by: steve on March 23, 2010 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

The funny thing is? The GOP does seems absolutely powerless to form policies, or resist the demands and rhetoric and pet causes of its far rightward fringe. They just keep getting ratcheted further and further and further into extreme positions. And since they are used to directing things from the top down, they don't know what to do. They have lost control.

All the GOP can do is spin frantically, and give the voting public a sales job that this stuff coming from their fringe is GREAT and TERRIFIC and represents the voices of REAL AMERICA ... and the rest of us should buy what they are selling. Even if it looks and smells like a fecal matter sandwich.

Posted by: Bokonon on March 23, 2010 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

OH LOOK! It is raining here. Must be the fault of the HCR bill! Snark alert!

Posted by: mat1492 on March 23, 2010 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

A co-worker of mine-who leans Democrat told me his dad's health care premiums are going up with this health care bill.

Even worse - my friend works at a hospital, she noticed government bureacrats running into old women's rooms, pulling the plug on them, and checking off some king of list...

Posted by: Ohioan on March 23, 2010 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

c'mon Steve, you're not going to throw a bucket of reality on this spectacle, are you?

Posted by: bcinaz on March 23, 2010 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Bokonon: The GOP does seems absolutely powerless to form policies, or resist the demands and rhetoric and pet causes of its far rightward fringe.

Excellent point! And this is very, very easy to prove. When extremism is all you have, the only thing you can accuse your opponent of is extremism. It's classic projection, man.

The other proof is that my moderately conservative friends [and, Kevin, I do have some] have become quieter and quieter over the last few months. No insipid emails. No jokes around the cooler. No thoughts on health care reform whatsoever. They're too embarrassed by the unhinged vitriol their extremist brethren are unleashing. And they know they can't have a conversation without those punks coming up.

Posted by: chrenson on March 23, 2010 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans have just completely lost it. Since when did they care about polls? It seems to me that Americans spoke loud and clear in 2008 when they elected overwhelming majorities of Democrats to Congress and elected Obama as president. Did the Republicans ever worry about American opinions when W. Bush was tanking in the polls? Or cite his dismal performance as evidence of his fortitude? I think there is a new generation of Republican politicians raised on tactics who have no concept of strategy. On health care, all we've heard about from Republicans is "reconciliation," "deem and pass" and now polls. What about policy?

I expect if Republicans had run some ads six months ago denouncing an individual mandate that this whole thing would have gone down in flames. Instead, we got breathless lies ("death panels") and arcane arguments about procedures that the Republicans themselves have often employed. What's so hard about describing policy to Americans? We're really not stupid. Really.

Posted by: kk on March 23, 2010 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans and the press misunderstood the polls. Political scientists have been saying that much of the opposition to reform was coming from opponents who didn't think reform went far enough. An Ipsos/McClatchy survey from Feb 26-28 found that 37% of respondents to opposed the plan because it didn't go far enough.

Posted by: Dr X on March 24, 2010 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

With this healthcare victory, Democrats now bring three things into the midterm elections: a re-invigorated base, a kick-ass leader in President Obama and swagger. If the Replublicans want to go to the voters promising to repeal this thing and put the insurance companies back in the driver's seat, I say, "Bring it on, Beck-heads!!!!"

Posted by: liberalart76 on March 24, 2010 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

"I remember with the stimulus bill that the supporters of it-Dems told us unemployment would not go above 8 pct in 2010 and guess what unemployment is now OVER 10 pct. That says it all."

So you expect the government to get you a job with a larger stimulus apparently. Culture of dependency. That says it all.

Of course the story behind that -- there was no claim that the govt can engineer a certain level of unemp - has been explained ad nauseum.

Posted by: molasky on March 24, 2010 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

So my 3-year old daughter has juvenile arthritis which means everytime I change jobs, there is the risk that she will be denied coverage for a pre-exsiting condition. Multiply THAT fact by a few hundreds of thousands (maybe a few millions) more...and the Republicans want to REPEAL the bill that protects my ability to get health care for her?

Sure, guys...GO FOR IT.

Posted by: Jeff Williams on March 26, 2010 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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