October 31 2011
Public Opinion of ObamaCare Hits All-Time Low
Kaiser Family Foundation has released their health care tracking poll for October, and the numbers are ugly. A majority (51 percent) of Americans have an unfavorable view of Obama's health care law, and 34 percent have a favorable view This is a record low for this Kaiser poll.
While Democrats continue to be much more likely than independents or Republicans to support the law, the fall in favorability was largely driven by waning Democratic enthusiasm—the share of Democrats with a favorable view of the law dropped from nearly two-thirds in September to just over half in October.
Ouch. Let's be honest: This law wasn't drafted or passed with bipartisan support. And now only about half of the party that passed it still supports it.
In late May 2011, IWF put together a health care polling update with numbers from Rasmussen, Kaiser, Pew, and Gallup. While the Kaiser numbers are notable in October, other polls don't show as great of a change. Rasmussen (a poll that tends to be more conservative - mainly a product of sampling only "likely voters" rather than the general public) has consistently shown a majority of respondents favoring repeal of ObamaCare since its passage. This week, Rasmussen reports that 54 percent of likely voters would like to see ObamaCare repealed.
Despite the various approches of the big polls, there have been visible trends over time: From March 2010 until May 2011, the American public remained strongly and steadily divided over the law. During spring/summer of 2011, skepticism seemed to increase as more people answered "I don't know" or "No opinion" in various polls. But the Kaiser October report shows some Americans moving decidedly into the "unfavorable" category.
So what's up with the big dose of pessimism in October? Kaiser says basically people are less enthusiastic about the health law because of:
- News coverage of Occupy Wall Street
- News coverage of the Republican debates
- Public wants Washington to focus on jobs and the economy
But I would add that a few key events from the last month that might be discouraging for the ObamaCare outlook:
- The cancellation of the CLASS Act because of its unworkable funding structure
- The filing of six cert petitions with the Supreme Court in cases related to ObamaCare
- Rising public awareness of the law's firewall for middle class families
- A new congressional report on the law's marriage penalty
Actually, considering all of this, it's a wonder that only 51 percent of people have an unfavorable view of this law.
I for one am sick and tired of hearing Pelosi's "see what's in it" quote. It's been repeated in nearly every critical commentary of the law. But there must be something to it: As time goes on Americans really are given new insights into the law's flaws - so it's no surprise that polling numbers indicate waning support.