The far-right campaign to shut down the government unless Democrats agree to defund the federal health care system isn't going well, but Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is undeterred. Asked a few days ago how he intends to win this fight, the Texas Republican said there's a "grass-roots tsunami" on the way that will convince lawmakers to follow his lead.
Cruz is likely to be disappointed. The latest report from the Kaiser Family Foundation asked Americans about defunding the Affordable Care Act, and a clear majority disapprove of the idea.
While a 57% majority oppose cutting off funding, only 36% endorse the Republican scheme. This is consistent with other recent polling that found similar results.
As a rule, "grass-roots tsunamis" are rare when they enjoy the support of barely a third of the country.
Of course, Cruz isn't the only one making fanciful health-care claims. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus recently argued, "People know what Obamacare is."
Looking over the KFF results, it's clear that people really don't know what Obamacare is.
From the report:
"Despite saying they've heard about the law from various sources, confusion remains, with more than four in ten saying the law has been repealed or overturned, or being unsure whether it remains the law of the land. And about half say they don't understand how the law will impact their own families."
In all, 44% of Americans don't realize that the Affordable Care Act is, right now, current law. That's discouraging, to be sure, but it may also have policy consequences -- the system relies on public participation, and if Americans believe the law has been repealed by Congress and/or overturned by the Supreme Court, they may not seek the benefits they're entitled to because they'll assume those benefits aren't actually available.
That said, a growing number of people are seeking additional information about the law and how it might help them. That's bad news for Obamacare's opponents, which tend to rely on little more than public ignorance.