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Posted at 11:46 AM ET, 01/21/2011

Is support for repeal vastly overstated?

By Greg Sargent

As you regulars know, I've been arguing here for days that overly simplistic polling has been exaggerating the support for blowing up the Affordable Care Act. When pollsters drill down with fine-grained questions, support for full repeal plummets.

The internals of today's New York Times/CBS poll dramatize this in perhaps the clearest terms yet.

The poll first asked people a straight-up question -- should we do away with the law completely, or let it stand -- and found that 40 percent favor repeal, versus 48 percent who want to leave it as is. That near-split mirrors virtually all other polls that asked the question this way -- they all find some solid support for repeal.

But here's where it gets interesting. The NYT/CBS poll then asked the pro-repeal camp whether they want to "repeal all of the health care law, or only certain parts of it." Suddenly the number who favor full repeal drops to 20 percent -- one-fifth -- while 18 percent peel off and say they want to repeal "certain parts."

It gets even better. The poll then asked people who support repeal an open-ended question: Which parts of the law do you want done away with? The number who said "everything" drops again, this tiime to eight percent. Eleven percent want the individual mandate repealed. But guess what? The number who called for repeal of other key individual items in the bill -- the pre-existing conditions piece; the coverage for people up to age 26; and so on -- was consistently one percent or less for each of them.

Now, some will say this proves nothing: People don't know what's in the bill, so they can't say what they want repealed. But this is exactly the point. Fine-grained polling reveals that people who say they want repeal may be expressing generalized frustration about the bill, or dislike of certain parts, such as the individual mandate, rather than a desire to see it blown to smithereens.

Indeed, today's Times poll hints at two other reasons entirely for that generalized frustration: 56 percent say the bill hasn't been clearly explained to them, and only 13 percent think they've enjoyed the law's benefits.

I'm going to stress yet again that this doesn't mean the bill isn't unpopular. It is. But detailed polling shows that there are many reasons for the bill's unpopularity, and that it does not necessarily translate into support for full repeal. The pattern is overwhelmingly clear: When people are offered a range of options, rather than just a straight-up choice between leaving the bill as is or getting rid of it entirely, multiple polls show that support for the latter drops fast. Yet this point is almost entirely absent from the discussion.

By Greg Sargent  | January 21, 2011; 11:46 AM ET
Categories:  Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers  
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Next: Historian: Thomas Jefferson supported `government run health care'

Comments

AND if we are going to have to listen to all this "big lie" garbage -


AFTER all the DECEPTIONS OF OBAMA, AND OBAMA'S BAIT AND SWITCH.....


AFTER ALL THE FALSE CHARGES OF RACISM...


Things are not going to be Civil -


AND the American People already can see the BS of the democrats


Obama and the liberals have turned our political system the GREATEST DEMOCRACY IN THE WORLD INTO A CIRCUS.


It is a complete disgrace to the nation.


How long did it take the democrats to go back to their BS ? Less than a WEEK??? How pathetic and WORTHLESS does that make anything the democrats say ????


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 21, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

AND if we are going to have to listen to all this "big lie" garbage -


AFTER all the DECEPTIONS OF OBAMA, AND OBAMA'S BAIT AND SWITCH.....


AFTER ALL THE FALSE CHARGES OF RACISM...


Things are not going to be Civil -


AND the American People already can see the BS of the democrats


Obama and the liberals have turned our political system the GREATEST DEMOCRACY IN THE WORLD INTO A CIRCUS.


It is a complete disgrace to the nation.


How long did it take the democrats to go back to their BS ? Less than a WEEK??? How pathetic and WORTHLESS does that make anything the democrats say ????


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 21, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

How hard is this nuance?

People like the idea of additional benefits, but they are SURE they don't want to pay for them.


How hard is that? Apparently liberals have a part of their brains missing that makes them completely unable to understand that. In fact, the liberals do not understand anything about the costs of any massive government program they want.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 21, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Apparently this list is CORRECT


REVEALED NEW INFORMATION FROM WIKILEAKS


Buried deep inside the latest release from Wikileaks was GREG SARGENTS list of topics for the next two years:


Greg Sargent THE PLUM LINE


List of Topics for 2011 - 2012


1) Harp on Health Care

2) Sarah Palin

3) Gay Rights

4) Rinse

5) Harp on Health Care

6) Complain about Sarah Palin

7) Gay Rights

8) Rinse

9) Secret money

10) Only the Republicans take secret money, not Obama

11) Harp on Health Care

12) Sarah Palin

13) Gay Rights

14) Rinse

15) Harp on Health Care

16) Complain about Sarah Palin

17) Gay Rights

18) Rinse

19) Secret money

20) Only the Republicans take undisclosed money, not Obama

21) Harp on Health Care

22) Sarah Palin

23) Gay Rights

24) Rinse

25) Harp on Health Care

26) Complain about Sarah Palin

27) Gay Rights

28) Rinse

29) Secret money

30) Only the Republicans take secret, undisclosed money, not Obama

31) Harp on Health Care

32) Sarah Palin

33) Gay Rights

34) Rinse

35) Harp on Health Care

36) Complain about Sarah Palin

37) Gay Rights

38) Rinse

39) Secret money

40) Only the Republicans take money, not Obama

41) Harp on Health Care

42) Sarah Palin

43) Gay Rights

44) Rinse

45) Harp on Health Care

46) Complain about Sarah Palin

47) Gay Rights

48) Rinse

49) Secret money

50) Only the Republicans take secret undisclosed money, not Obama

51) Harp on Health Care

52) Sarah Palin

53) Gay Rights

54) Rinse

55) Harp on Health Care

56) Complain about Sarah Palin

57) Gay Rights

58) Rinse

59) Secret money

60) Only the Republicans take secret money, not Obama

61) Harp on Health Care

62) Sarah Palin

63) Gay Rights

64) Rinse

65) Harp on Health Care

66) Complain about Sarah Palin

67) Gay Rights

68) Rinse

69) Secret money

70) Only the Republicans take secret undisclosed money, not Obama

71) Harp on Health Care

72) Sarah Palin

73) Gay Rights

74) Rinse

75) Harp on Health Care

76) Complain about Sarah Palin

77) Gay Rights

78) Rinse

79) Secret money

80) Only the Republicans take money, not Obama

81) Harp on Health Care

82) Sarah Palin

83) Gay Rights

84) Rinse

85) Harp on Health Care

86) Complain about Sarah Palin

87) Gay Rights

88) Rinse

89) Secret money

90) Only the Republicans take secret undisclosed money, not Obama

91) Harp on Health Care

92) Sarah Palin

93) Gay Rights

94) Rinse

95) Harp on Health Care

96) Complain about Sarah Palin

97) Gay Rights

98) Rinse

99) Secret money

100) Only the Republicans take secret undisclosed money, not Obama

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 21, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

"Is support for repeal vastly overstated?"

Yes, just as demand for passing it was overstated.

Hyperbole is the political coin of the realm in DC. Even--perhaps especially--when it comes to polling.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 21, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Uninformed people, basing their opinions off of knee-jerk emotional responses to propaganda advertising and lies.

And to think...there's gambling going on in this establishment!

How many other journalists are willing to admit what's obviously true? *crickets*

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | January 21, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Good post, Greg.

Its time the OFA and whoever to do some "propoganda" on this. Why is it considered taboo to run TV ads for ACA? I know I'm missing something...

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 21, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

ON the day the House passed the bill, I didn't see any people outside Capitol Hill protesting in favor of the bill


Yet there were thousands of people against it.


When the AMERICAN PEOPLE voted in November, they elected a Congress firmly committed to FULL REPEAL.


So what is the issue?


It is pretty clear. THIS IS A SETTLED ISSUE. THE BILL HAS TO GO.


Simple. The longer the liberals wait to agree, the greater the damage to their party.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 21, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Wake me up when Greg stops making the same point over and over and over and...

snzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: sbj3 | January 21, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

The real issue is Obama's sanity overstated?

What reasonable and sane person would do so much damage to their own party for so little?

The bill is going to get repealed. It's settled.

I simply do not understand what the reasoning was.


Obama should have never followed a course which would risk the loss of his majority in Congress. It was stupid and arrogant. There is no reason now to believe that Obama has any ability to govern or qualifications or anything.


The risk is Obama is going to do as much damage to the nation that he has already done to his own party.


Obama doesn't know what he is doing. The only explanation is that he is a plant. But WHO PLANTED HIM? Is he a Republican plant? Or a plant from a foreign country?


Sure seems like they got Obama in, but they don't know what to do with him. They want to sabotage the country, but they just don't know how.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 21, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

To be honest the polling that gave the liberals the idea that "people don't like the health care bill, but they like parts of it" is the thing that is overly simplistic.


Clearly, BECAUSE that kind of question tends to omit the COSTS of the overall program, AND the effects on the Economy and the drag on hiring.


The liberals would be wise to just let go of this and tell Obama to sign the Repeal.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 21, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

New Poll: 56% of Americans want Obamacare repealed and only 39% want to keep the law
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/01/20/fox-news-poll-voters-upside-health-care-law/

[insert kneejerk Leftist "bias" whine]

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 21, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse

So ... sbj ... are you finally seeing the point? Are you prepared to embrace the truth of the matter?

Or is it your contention that it is not Greg's job to inform and educate? Do you think that people should be allowed to remain ignorant and uninformed because you get tired reading the facts repeated until clarity is achieved?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | January 21, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

kadaffi, amusing as always, responds to a post proving that straight-up repeal-versus-leave-bill-as-is polling is bogus with...

another poll just like that

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 21, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Rep. Allen West (R-USA) is serious about repealing ObamaCare today. Enjoy!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CvXlo8d1Fg&feature=player_embedded

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 21, 2011 12:45 PM | Report abuse

If you tell people how much this is ACTUALLY going to cost per year when fully implemented, it will be rejected. When will you, Greg, detail the ACTUAL cost, per year, of this. When will YOU write about counting medicare "savings" twice. In other words, when will you tell the truth about this scheme and how similar programs in Massachusettes and Tennessee are REALLY working out. I live in Tennessee and, as you know Greg, our Democratic governor had to cut back that program because it was bankrupting our state.

Posted by: glovercv | January 21, 2011 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Now imagine and Ad agency or PR firm represented a client, say Health Care Reform for example, and was tasked with promoting the benefits of this product; the upside would be tremendous. This boils down to 1 thing: worst sales job ever!

Posted by: mikemfr | January 21, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Really interesting internals, Greg. One of the things I'd like to see mentioned about the act is that as of January 1st, Medicare now covers yearly "wellness" visits for seniors. Formerly, there was only an initial welcome to Medicare visit covered in terms of preventive care. Many seniors were put off the bill by that ongoing, erroneous story that it cuts Medicare. The word really hasn't gotten out about this new preventive care, and it should, both so people can take advantage of it and for the PR.

@ruk--Thanks for your post on an earlier thread about the dangers of armed amateurs in crowd situations and the general risk law enforcement faces. I have a young friend whose husband is on the SWAT team. She's made him promise to wake her up and kiss her goodbye when he leaves for a 5 a.m. shift out of fear that, if he doesn't, that will be the day he doesn't come home.

Posted by: AllButCertain | January 21, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Now imagine and Ad agency or PR firm represented a client, say Health Care Reform for example, and was tasked with promoting the benefits of this product; the upside would be tremendous. This boils down to 1 thing: worst sales job ever!

Posted by: mikemfr | January 21, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Americans are starting to recognize that there is a lot of good stuff in the Affordable Care Act. The Democrats have done a terrible job of getting the message out so its no surprise the GOP propaganda machine has won more rounds in this fight. But the longer its in the news the more Americans will wake up and realize ACA does good things for them.

The GOP is usually very good with strategy but they've painted themselves in a corner here. Full repeal would have been the only thing with public support but it was a non-starter in the senate and, anyway, more people are moving away from supporting full repeal as they get to know ACA. The only other option for the GOP is to try and dismantly ACA piece by piece but the public won't support that. Everyone knows someone who is fighting cancer or lost their insurance when they lost their job.

Folks will look back on this repeal business as a sympbolic stand by the GOP that wasted time and money while pressing issues were neglected.

Posted by: rgray | January 21, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

greg, condescending as always, responds to new polling demonstrating support for repeal... by repeating his silly (SeeBS/NYSlimes-inspired) denials.

/non-persuasive

*yawn*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 21, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

[AllButCertain chirped: "Really interesting internals"]

FACT: Every time Greg defends PelosiCare, God kills a kitten.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 21, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

@prag: "Are you prepared to embrace the truth of the matter?"

The truth of the matter is that there are parts of the bill that people support and parts that people don't like. That's been evident to all but the most ignorant since the beginning of this discussion.

I think that the Dems (and Greg?) would like us all to believe that the critics are offering a simple choice of keeping the bill or repealing all of it without any replacement.

"Democrats wanted to characterize repeal as draconian, ignoring the fact that we do have very, very positive alternatives," says Rep. David Dreier, chairman of the House Rules Committee. "... We said repeal and replace, and we're in the process of replacing."

"House Republicans are pursuing a three-part strategy. Part One was repeal; they promised to do it, and they did it. Part Two is replace, which in coming months will involve House votes on a series of GOP health care measures. And Part Three -- since full repeal can't win in the Senate -- is another series of votes on measures to repeal individual parts of Obamacare."

"... When Democrats passed the national health care bill, many admitted that they didn't like this or that part, or that the bill as a whole wasn't "perfect." But after Obamacare became law, they balked at changing even the smallest part. For example, there is widespread agreement that the so-called 1099 provision... is extremely burdensome. But when Republicans tried to kill the provision last year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made sure it didn't happen."

"... Obamacare is filled with vulnerable provisions. In addition to the 1099, there's the individual mandate..., cuts to Medicare, and the long-term care measure called the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act, better known as the CLASS Act. During the Senate's Obamacare debate in December 2009, some Democrats voiced reservations about each of those provisions."

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/politics/2011/01/house-gop-begins-long-slog-dismantle-obamacare#ixzz1Bh5gPLWN

Posted by: sbj3 | January 21, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

"Fine-grained polling reveals that people who say they want repeal may be expressing generalized frustration about the bill, or dislike of certain parts, such as the individual mandate, rather than a desire to see it blown to smithereens."

Or they just don't like Obama.

Posted by: willows1 | January 21, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Let's hope the Republicans are dumb enough to make repeal their priority for the next two years.

They should do a poll on how many Americans are tired of hearing about it.

Posted by: Beeliever | January 21, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

KW, you have often stated that personnel is the highest cost item in the Mil budget, but that is incorrect. Logistics, transportation, maintenance, I think its called ops and maintenance, is the biggie, and personnel runs a bit ahead of hardware, but not much.

Yes, I want a leaner defense budget. That will more SecDefs like Gates, who actually take the time to try to get a handle on the spending. In other words, i am very happy with Gates, in a way that I have not been with any other SecDef. That includes his time with GWB. I like to think I can recognize talent anywhere - but of course, he came from TX.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 21, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

That will *take* more SecDefs like Gates...

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 21, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

FACT: Every time Greg defends PelosiCare, God kills a kitten.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst
************************************
Yawn. Even your insults are stupid. I bet your mom makes you wear a helmet when you go out.

Posted by: rgray | January 21, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

The truth of the matter is that there are parts of the bill that people support and parts that people don't like. That's been evident to all but the most ignorant since the beginning of this discussion.

Posted by: sbj3 | January 21, 2011 1:05 PM

Careful sbj ... that comment is an insult to most of the "right" commenters on this blog. I think most from the left, as even admitted in the quote contained in your post, agree that there are many possible improvements to the law.

So why the need for the theatrics of a repeal bill that only the most ignorant (your words) think is appropriate?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | January 21, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"House Republicans are pursuing a three-part strategy. Part One was repeal; they promised to do it, and they did it. Part Two is replace, which in coming months will involve House votes on a series of GOP health care measures. And Part Three -- since full repeal can't win in the Senate -- is another series of votes on measures to repeal individual parts of Obamacare."
-------------------------------------------------------------
@beeliever,

Looks like you're going to get your wish. The House Republicans appears committed to wasting their time and ours, by diddling with themselves in this robotic, arrogantly disconnected from real people, self absorbed way, that accomplishes nothing, wastes opportunity, is backward looking, and bores us all to tears.

Americans are a people who believe in going forward, not going backwards.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 21, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Krauthammer today: "...amending an insanely complicated, contradictory, incoherent, and arbitrary 2,000-page bill that will generate tens of thousands of pages of regulations is a complete nonstarter. Everything begins with repeal."
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/print/257625

End it: don't amend it.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 21, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

[rgray drooled: "Even your insults are stupid."]

Over your head, we know.

Gweg still wuvs you.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 21, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

BTW, no one could be less like Gates than Joe Lieberman, who was touted for SecDef by McC. McC himself has a much better eye for waste than JL, but only his loyalty to his buddy is commendable here, not his judgment, IMO.

I do not know of another person in govt. who combines all the skills Gates has for running something with national security implications in an efficient way. Colin Powell probably could continue Gates' model b/c he ran a taut State Dept. and should be able to ID waste. It is possible that someone from within the military has the chops. My D friends often wonder why I cannot think of a D at first blush for this position, but I know that there are some Ds with the requisite skills. Try to think of some. Put your mind to national security types who know the military and have the ability to analyze a very complex budget and have the apolitical skill to use experts well. Add in diplomatic ability.

It's amazing we found one, regardless of party.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 21, 2011 1:23 PM | Report abuse

All, turns out Thomas Jefferson also supported the 1798 "government run health care" act for sailors:

http://wapo.st/f5Mxww

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 21, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

@prag: "So why the need for the theatrics?"

I think we can agree that both parties engage in theatrics.

In this case repeal was a campaign promise, and, as Krauthammer says, repealing the whole bill would have certain advantages in that amending it will be extremely messy.

If the GOP is able to pass many smaller health care reforms perhaps more and more congressmen will believe that a straight repeal of ACA is possible (since the smaller bills would contain the portions that both parties like).

Posted by: sbj3 | January 21, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

"repealing the whole bill would have certain advantages in that amending it will be extremely messy."
-------------------------------------

Voting for the full repeal also sets up the position from which Republicans can negotiate. They can then claim, piecemeal repeal as some sort of compromise.

While there would be some portions of the bill that would be messy to repeal, there are something that could be done pretty simply. For instance 15 billion is given to the Center for Innovation, it would be pretty easty to repeal that especially the portions of that which haven't already been funded. That pretty much reinforces the notion that this is mostly for show.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 21, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"When will YOU write about counting medicare "savings" twice. In other words, when will you tell the truth about this scheme and how similar programs in Massachusettes and Tennessee are REALLY working out. I live in Tennessee and, as you know Greg, our Democratic governor had to cut back that program because it was bankrupting our state."

The TN governor is cutting back on the state's contribution to Medicaid, NOT Medicare. Different. Very.

Posted by: Alex3 | January 21, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

It's so much easier to sell simplicity -- that's what keeps the Republicans in the political game.

But life isn't simple and governing well is very complicated. The problems we face are not simple and their solutions are necessarily complicated.

Unfortunately for the nation's welfare, people craze simplicity and the Republicans have that in spades. They won't ever let the facts get in the way of their political ideology. They thing the world should work in accord with their ideology even though it never has worked that way.

So they oversimplify everything and trash anything that is complicated -- and a huge portion of the public just laps it up.

The greatest danger to this nation is government by ideology rather than by fact and analysis. President Obama governs by the latter approach -- and it is a very hard sell to a public that just loves to keep it simple.

Posted by: dl49 | January 21, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

What I'm looking forward to is putting up each mandate stated in the ACA individually and see where each Representative stands. In theory, if it's in the bill, then Republicans should vote not since it is a part of ACA. If not, they would be going against the Pledge to America and shall be held accountable. Even if they say that this is a good thing, it goes against the agreement they signed to start off with, thus turning them into RINOs.

But logic will instead have them boasting that's what they wanted and the egos will grow. I hope people do continue saying repeal it all when this happens, it will show how heartless some of these people are, since many seem to be "Christian"

Posted by: Falling4Ever | January 21, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

The TN governor is cutting back on the state's contribution to Medicaid, NOT Medicare. Different. Very.

===

Yeah. Poor people vote at a lower rate than seniors.

Posted by: mason08 | January 21, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Wow, ingenius fellow--same old detailed reporting about what the minority of a country want. I'm sorry this simple intelligence lacking.

Posted by: CTaylor42 | January 22, 2011 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Greg, you and the Democrats will get a clarification on election day 2012. Shellacking part 2 tune in to watch.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | January 22, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Yep ... it's doin' fine ... no problem ... just keep on reassuring yourself Greg ... just like TNR and Salon and Slate have all been doing lately ... take no notice of the man behind the curtain or those 26 states filing suit against this wonderful piece of legislation ... remain calm ... all is well ...

Posted by: cunn9305 | January 22, 2011 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Popular laws are not always the right laws. Children would make laws that outlaw schools, make chocolate manditory at every meal, etc. The Civil Rights Act was not particularly popular with a large segment of society in 1964, but it was the right thing to do.

Posted by: roxanne4450 | January 24, 2011 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Rainforestrising said: ON the day the House passed the bill, I didn't see any people outside Capitol Hill protesting in favor of the bill


People don't normally protest the passing of a bill that they support.

Posted by: mikey4815161 | January 25, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

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