It’s easy and accurate to say the Affordable Care Act isn’t yet popular with the public, but it’s important to take the next step and ask why.
A CNN/ORC International poll also indicates nearly six in 10 Americans oppose the national health care law, but some give the Affordable Care Act a thumbs down because it isn’t liberal enough.According to the survey released on Wednesday, four in 10 say they support the law, with 58% opposed. Those figures are little changed from a CNN poll a month ago…. But 41% say they oppose the law because they think it’s too liberal, with 14% saying the measure doesn’t go far enough.
This has always been the inconvenient detail for the right. Conservatives look at the top-line poll results and say, “See? 58% of Americans oppose ‘Obamacare.’ Therefore, Democrats should listen to Republicans and gut the law.”
But it’s the nuances of Americans’ attitudes that matter. In this CNN poll, 40% of the public backs the Affordable Care Act and another 14% want the law to go even further and be more ambitious.
In other words, as the CNN analysis explained, 54% of the country either supports Obamacare, or say it’s not liberal enough.
The same poll, by the way, also found that most Americans (53%) believe it’s too soon to say whether the law is a success or a failure, and most Americans (54%) also expect problems plaguing the ACA rollout to be solved.
The larger takeaway from this isn’t just to boast or score ideological points. Rather, the significance of poll results like these is their practical implications – Republicans, especially in Congress, believe the public is on their side when it comes to health care reform, which leads them to hold several dozen repeal votes, a series of theatrical hearings, and stick to an ongoing crusade against the law. Indeed, GOP lawmakers expect their anti-Obamacare position to pay enormous dividends at the ballot box.
But even now, theirs is a minority position – most Americans oppose repeal, most Americans expect the current problems to get fixed, and most Americans either support the law or want it to be more progressive.
That’s not a recipe for conservative success; that’s the opposite.