From Sen. Ted Cruz to former Gov. Sarah Palin, many of the biggest conservative players in the Republican party have made defunding the Affordable Care Act one of their primary goals of 2013. But it turns out they are in the minority, the extreme minority.
According to a poll released by the Morning Consult Wednesday, only 6% of Americans want to see the law either defunded or delayed, including only 7% of Republicans. The same poll finds about a third of Americans want to see the law repealed, while nearly two-thirds want it left alone, improved, or expanded.
The plan pushed by some conservative Republicans would shut down the government entirely until the law is defunded and stopped. Cruz urged his fellow Republicans to stick to their guns over this past weekend, celebrating Tuesday when the petition to see the law defunded passed the one-million signature milestone. But mainstream Republicans have strongly opposed it, and critics have pointed out that it almost certainly won’t work.
“The Republican base seems to think that if they shut the government down then therefore there is no money for Obamacare, and I can understand why logically you would believe that,” Huffington Post reporter Ryan Grim explained on Wednesday’s PoliticsNation. “But what they don’t understand is that there’s a difference between mandatory spending and discretionary spending. It’s complicated but this is mandatory spending which means that even if the government shuts down–they can close all the parks, all the federal buildings–the mandatory money for Obamacare keeps flowing.”
The poll, released the day President Bill Clinton made a major speech touting the benefits of the law, found that a majority of young Americans approve of the law, 56% to 38%. Hispanic voters also approve of the law in similar margins.
That’s good news for the White House, as the success of the law will be buoyed if those two groups–both some of the most uninsured or underinsured in the U.S.–begin to enroll through the insurance exchanges set to open next month.
Grim believes that could be the turning point for the law.
“I think what you’re going to see after October 1, is not just a campaign from Clinton and other Democrats, but a real word-of-mouth campaign,” he said. “I think that kind of thing is just going to go from person-to-person, and you’re going to see a lot of sign-ups, and that’s what Republicans are worried about.”