There’s not much good news for President Obama and his signature legislative achievement in the ABC/Washington Post poll released Tuesday morning.
Only 33 percent approve of the way the law is being implemented, with 63 percent disapproving. The 40 percent approving of the law itself is just 2 points shy of the president’s 42 percent approval rating, just as the 57 percent who disapprove of the law is just 2 percent higher than the 55 percent who disapprove of President Obama.
Less than 50 percent polled said the president was a strong leader, trustworthy, understanding or a strong manager. The only good news is that a majority of Americans, 52 percent, believe that the president said what he believed was true when he promised that people who like their insurance plans can keep them.
“The administration’s rollout of the law was an epic, unforgivable failure, so it’s not surprising public disapproval is skyrocketing,” writes The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent. “That’s as it should be.”
This leads to a pretty simple conclusion: President Obama’s popularity is dependent on Healthcare.gov beginning to work well and America finding that there are more “winners” than “losers” under the law.
However, it’s important to remember that when it comes to unpopularity, the Affordable Care Act ain’t got nothin’ on the Republican Party.
Huffington Post‘s Pollster has the GOP’s average approval at 27.7 percent with 59.5 percent disapproving, which may explain the key finding of a new United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, also released Tuesday.
Looking at the results, National Journal‘s Ron Brownstein finds “support for repeal has not significantly increased among any major group except Republicans and working-class whites since the Congressional Connection Poll last tested opinion on the question in July.”
Only majorities of Republicans and white voters prefer repeal over keeping and improving the law.
Essentially, every group the GOP needs to make inroads with — including seniors, independents, non-white and younger voters — prefer preserving the law or spending more to improve it.
Though the Republican Study Committee has outlined an Obamacare alternative and conservatives are increasingly discussing what a conservative plan might look like, House Republicans have never offered to replace the law with an alternative, even as they’ve voted to repeal it over three dozen times.
Repeal should be the only option Republicans should be considering, says GOP political consultant Rick Wilson.
“Don’t tweak,” Wilson writes. “Offer them full repeal only. Over and over. Upton showed a crack in their coalition. The tension and fear is building. Build a plan to pressure vulnerable red-state Democrats. Hang the stories of the victims of Obamacare around their necks. Make them bleed. Make them own it. Stretch out the pain until consumer and voter pressure does your work for you.”
Compassionate conservatism is heartwarming, isn’t it?
For many Republicans, there is certitude that the law is doomed to failure and if they can keep the focus on the law, they will destroy Obama, the Democrats and liberalism forever.
This hypothesis neglects the evidence that the law is working in states that are trying to make it work, and there is a chance that the close to 20 million people who are eligible for completely subsidized, or nearly completely subsidized, health insurance might be partial to the law.
It also ignores that the public still doesn’t buy the GOP’s “alternative” or the GOP in general. Perhaps pollsters should start asking people if they want to repeal the Republican Party?
Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr