Still No Popularity for GOP's Repeal Agenda

Following up on yesterday's item on attitudes towards health care reform, we know polls that offer respondents a range of options end up offering a better look at the nuances of public opinion. The Republicans' repeal plans look a lot less popular when Americans aren't reduced to an either/or option.

The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll is one of the better surveys I've seen lately (not because I like the results, but because of the way the question was asked and the options available to respondents).

On the eve of a repeal vote in the House, more Americans continue to oppose than support the health care reform law, with broad suspicions it'll hurt the economy, boost the deficit and -- by a narrower margin -- cut jobs. But repealing it is another matter.

Forty-six percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll think the law is likely to cut jobs, 8 points more than think it'll create them. More, 54 percent think it's more apt to hurt than help the economy. And 62 percent see it as increasing rather than decreasing the federal deficit.

For all that, fewer than four in 10 -- 37 percent -- favor repealing all or parts of the law; the rest either support it, or want to wait and see. And just 18 percent favor repealing it entirely, as the Republican leadership in Congress seeks to do.

 

In this case, the results show patently false Republican attacks have been quite effective -- much, if not most, of the country now believes key falsehoods about the health care reform law and its allegedly negative consequences. That's a problem that explains the law's ongoing struggle to gain broader public support.

But even after all of that, just 18% of the country supports the GOP plan to repealing the entirety of the law.

Even on the top line, 45% said they support the Affordable Care Act, while an additional 13% oppose it because they don't think it goes far enough. In other words, a combined 58% either support the Democratic policy, or want it to be even more ambitious.

If congressional Republicans perceive this as an endorsement of their agenda, they're not paying close enough attention.

Postscript: The same poll, by the way, shows President Obama's approval rating up to 54%, its highest point in quite a while. Asked if the country should go in the direction Obama prefers, or the direction Republicans endorse, the president leads the GOP by nine points, 44% to 35%.

 

Washington Monthly / By Steve Benen

Posted at January 19, 2011, 4:34am

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