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Health-care reform getting more, not less, popular

I got an e-mail from the House minority leader's office this morning linking me to their new report, "Obamacare: Three Months of Broken Promises." "Three things are abundantly clear about President Obama’s new health care law three months after it became law," explained Michael Steel, a spokesperson for John Boehner. "First, the American people remain squarely opposed to it. Second, it is off to a rocky start, having failed to live up to specific promises made by President Obama and Washington Democrats. Third, Republicans have listened to the American people, heard the rising public backlash against the new law, and offered better solutions."

I haven't read the report closely yet, so I'll reserve comment on it. But by coincidence, I had been looking at some of the polling on health-care reform moments before the report landed in my inbox. A USA Today/Gallup poll that came out this morning showed that 49 percent of Americans think the Affordable Care Act is a "good thing," while 46 percent think it's a "bad thing."

This poll comes on the heels of an Associated Press-GfK poll showing the same movement. So that's two recent polls showing a lift in the bill's popularity, taking it from a slight plurality in opposition to a slight plurality in favor. Two polls is enough to make me curious, so I headed over to Pollster.com, and it does seem we're looking at a trend. The site's aggregate chart of recent polls doesn't yet show support overwhelming opposition, but it does show support rising and opposition falling. In fact, the bill's spread looks better than at any point in the past year. Check it out:

I'll take a longer look at Boehner's report later today, but it doesn't seem, at this point, that the American people "remain squarely opposed" to the bill, or that there's "a rising backlash." Public opinion remains mixed, and the trend is toward support, not opposition.

By Ezra Klein  |  June 23, 2010; 9:01 AM ET
Categories:  Health Reform , Polls  
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Comments

As discussed back in March, the upward slope of the PPACA cost begins to directly affect paychecks in September. The polls in October will be interesting.

Posted by: rmgregory | June 23, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Timeline:

Affordable Care Act is passed.

World doesn't immediately end, as Republicans implied.

"Hey, it didn't destroy life as we know it after all! It must not be that bad."

Popularity improves.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | June 23, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

AGAIN I ask, "how are those high risk pools coming along?

How about dependents to age 26. All of them still covered? All those that were removed covered? even a small segment? NO. Some of the promises have been kept, some have not.

Three months is WAY too early to do this. I'll say what I've said all throughout this. Its better than the status quo, I still believe it will cost MORE than the status quo and its a band-aid on a gushing wound.

Posted by: visionbrkr | June 23, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

The polls are useless.

Many liberals are opposed to "this" HCR because they want single-payer.

Propagandists like Steele pretend those liberals should be grouped with the people who truly oppose ANY HCR.

Obama was elected in large part to reform health care. And that poll is more meaningful than others.

If the current HCR is managed properly and produces tangible benefits to all or most Americans, then it will become highly popular. If HCR is mismanaged by Democrats or sabotaged by the GOP, then it will become less popular.

Posted by: Lomillialor | June 23, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

in President Obama's home state of Illinois they've already missed the deadline and are looking at mid august if they're lucky.

http://www.suntimes.com/lifestyles/health/2414404,CST-NWS-highrisk21.article

Posted by: visionbrkr | June 23, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse


The pollster.com average cited by Ezra does not include the Rasmussen or USA Today polls showing that majorities favor repeal.

The realclearpoitics.com average, which is a genuine average of all polls, has opposition at 50%, support at 43%.

Posted by: Jon25 | June 23, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Gallop 6/11 - 6/13 Repeal all or much of the healthcare legislation passed earlier this year: Favor 50% oppose 45%
Republicans favor 74% Independents favor 55%. Liar!

Posted by: obrier2 | June 23, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Americans think the Affordable Care Act is a "good thing," while 46 percent think it's a "bad thing."

----------------------------------------

Maybe its a "good thing" because it was the main D downfall and overreach that has hurt the presidential polling and set up the elections for the R's in the fall?

Posted by: Holla26 | June 23, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

All your polls, Klein, are stupid straw men.

What percentage of adults can't name a sitting Supreme Court justice? That's your competence base. That's who you hope to reach with your dim propaganda. That's who you hope to use in furtherance of the Leviathan state.

Posted by: msoja | June 23, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse


I think 80,000 $250 rebate checks went out to seniors this month for part D reimbursements (filling the donut hole).

That could explain some movement.

Posted by: ThomasEN | June 23, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

The pollsters obviously haven't talked to anyone in Massachusetts where premiums have virtually doubled, waiting times have increased exponentially, and seniors are being denied life improving operations such as hip replacements. In addition, several health plans are close to bankruptcy.

Posted by: apberusdisvet | June 23, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

They're fooling themselves if they think it's becoming more popular. I certainly don't see any evidence of that in my area. Based on what I'm hearing from other people, I'm more inclined to believe that the majority is becoming more apprehensive and uncertain about the negative effects the legislation may have on their lives, rather than anticipating any benefits.

Posted by: Lilycat1 | June 23, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Klein's chart looks like the dead fish Obamacare is.

Posted by: herb3 | June 23, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

What that chart seems to say is that support for the Act has not improved, while opposition has waned a bit with public attention having shifted. I would expect opposition to pick back up, then as we get closer to the election.

Posted by: tomtildrum | June 23, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Unbelievable.

Posted by: jobro2 | June 23, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

The pollsters obviously haven't talked to anyone in Massachusetts where premiums have virtually doubled, waiting times have increased exponentially, and seniors are being denied life improving operations such as hip replacements. In addition, several health plans are close to bankruptcy.
Posted by: apberusdisvet | June 23, 2010 11:18 AM |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
You forgot to mention that Mass. has a Republican plan.

Posted by: remember2 | June 23, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Klein, how do you sleep at night after using what brainpower you have to figure out ways to spin everything toward the left-wing zealots. Or do you think that, like most left-wing supporters that you are way more smart than your imbecile readers? Well, you don't fool anyone but the left-wingers. ......................Look up realclearpolitics.com, an average of all the polls: Oppose 50%, favor 43%. So Boehner is right this time and not the leftist Klein. .........................You should get a job with the Obama administration, where you don't have to even try to tell the truth. And you better hurry. The way WaPo is losing circulation and ad money, it may soon be on the auction block like your sister left-wing pub, Newsweek.

Posted by: RonKH | June 23, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

New Commonwealth Study of healthcare status in 7 industrialized nations:

USA RANKED 7th OUT OF 7!

USA MOST EXPENSIVE, BUT RECEIVE THE LEAST

#1 Netherlands, #2 Canada

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2010/06/23/128027472/survey-says-u-s-health-system-sicker-than-most-other-nations

Posted by: TruthFairy | June 23, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Repugs - PLEASE don't co-mingle Gallup 6/11-6/13 results with 6/21-6/23 and think you just came up with a Gottcha!

That's the point - Polls take the temperature of opinion at a given moment in time only....and results can be heavily influenced by market activity (such as endless aggressive GOP anti-Obamacare lying propaganda campaign & political grandstanding of GOP AG's in 19 states, with their ludicrous repeal).

Poll results are also influenced by the sample - - Rasmussen & ARG, for ex, are RW-biased & generally 9 - 11 points behind the rest of polls.

Posted by: TruthFairy | June 23, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

apberusdisvet, I don't know where you get your information on healthcare in Massachusetts, since you didn't provide sources. I have private insurance through BC/BS of Massachusetts, and when RomneyCare went into effect, my premiums went from what would have been $900/month to less than $500/month. Even now, they're $575 a month -- for the same coverage (actually, slightly improved). How is $575 double $900? What kind of math are you using?

Posted by: Eggroll | June 23, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Obamacare is certainly not becoming more popular. The great majority of Americans were against this bill, and had it shoved down their throats by a one party vote, that was disgusting in its process.
The more we find out about the Bill, the more unpopular it becomes. Worse Healthcare, higher premiums, loosing your doctor, and rationed care for seniors. Taking away Medicare Advantage for seniors. As to the cost, it goes up and up. It will bankrupt the country, and ruin the best Health care in the world.

Posted by: joanz3 | June 23, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Other polls show it 57% against.

I'm somewhat against the the bill given that amost everyone (pro or con) knows it will cost more than claimed and OVERWHELMINGLY against the shabby way it passed.

Just adding the bribes, kickbacks and "aren't you specials" to the cost is depressing.

Posted by: deadmanwalking | June 23, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Klein, you are either an idiot or you are just a good little puppet. I would say it is a bit premature that these polls mean a damn thing!! How many people are magically covered now that the law is in effect?? Is this an article that your handlers told you to write? Get back to us in about 2 years and your wonderful investigative journalism. Jesus, a frickin' 6th grader could have done better!! What a joke you and your editors are!!

Posted by: sarasota1 | June 24, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

"The pollsters obviously haven't talked to anyone in Massachusetts where premiums have virtually doubled, waiting times have increased exponentially, and seniors are being denied life improving operations such as hip replacements. In addition, several health plans are close to bankruptcy.
Posted by: apberusdisvet | June 23, 2010 11:18 AM |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
You forgot to mention that Mass. has a Republican plan."

The Massachusetts Plan enacted was based on a Mitt Romney proposal, true, but it was heavily revised by the Democratic legislature. Furthermore, it doesn't really matter whether it was a Republican plan or Democratic plan - what matters is that it was the basis of Obamacare and its success or failure is a portend of what we can expect on a national scale.

Posted by: teisenmenger | June 24, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

It is exactly 3 months after the passage of ACA and even the RealClearPolitics average spread has narrowed dramatically, from over a 12-point average spread against it in the week after passage, down to 6.8-point average spread against it, now.

This is probably emotional subsidence, and in fact I predicted that the lines would CROSS by this moment just because of Lee's Three-Month Rule of Emotion in Politics, which states that, even though new emotions are strong and they seem timeless so you think they will last forever, in reality emotions always subside, and in three months everything always looks different.

Well they didn't cross -- but I'll cite the 2.1 spread on Pollster as vindication anyway, because there has been absolutely no public education about the provisions of Obamacare so far, yet the spread has already narrowed this far.

This ought to be encouraging for the Democrats. As people find out about the law, the polls are likely to go to a majority in favor. Even Scott Rasmussen said this might happen, and he should know: his "opposed" numbers were including people who were opposed because they want the bill to be more liberal.

That is one reason the Republicans quickly toned-down their "repeal" rhetoric.

And what percentage of the population opposes Obamacare because they want it to be more liberal, i.e. to have at least a nonprofit public option? From various polls taken around the time of passage, it looks around 12-13%.

That is a huge number of potentially reachable voters and they were never likely to be voting for repeal. That figure is as big as the negative spread on RealClearPolitics in the week after passage! And the narrowing of the spread could be partly the movement of some of those people to the undecided column, particularly if they've begun to realize that the listing exchanges make it very easy for a nonprofit to market itself.

Posted by: Lee_A_Arnold | June 25, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

As shown here:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/american-voters%E2%80%99-opposition-obamacare-rock-solid

Klein's argument is a crock.

Face the facts, liberals: you support partisan policies irrespective of whether they are harmful or not because you are ignorant of the evidence against them or because you just don't care, because partisanship gratifies your selfish emotional needs. That's right: liberals are ignorant and selfish. If you are intelligent, educated and caring, as liberals risibly believe themselves to be, you are a libertarian.

Posted by: CMF6 | June 28, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised at all the complaints, but I think if we could work together implementing better strategies there could be a lot of positivity to be found. There's a great link over at http://healthcaresource.com/bestpractices?pmc=SM-01 that you might consider before you throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Posted by: sara1994 | June 29, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Very sophomoric article. Gone are the days of solid journalism at The Post. What has remained is purely left leaning; So far left I'd say, that The Post is as far left as Fox News is far right.

Jeffrey H. Anderson, at The Weekly Standard explains how that changing trendline reflects not a shift in public sentiment, but the fact that the polls conducted in May and June are fewer and less reliable.

Posted by: cheetahcats | June 29, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

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