By Grace-Marie Turner
The Left is trying to tell us that ObamaCare has receded as a campaign issue because voters are by and large satisfied with the law.
Nothing could be further from the truth, but the White House cannot allow the actual story to be told because it would destroy the narrative that ObamaCare is becoming more popular now that it is being implemented.
A wealth of polling results destroy their narrative. This election could in fact create a “Repeal Majority” in Congress of elected officials who have pledged in their campaigns to repeal and replace the law.
An in depth survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies (POS) for Independent Women’s Voice shows that ObamaCare is a deciding issue among those voters who are most passionate about voting. And by two to one, they oppose the law, and most strongly oppose it.
In fact, the POS survey of swing districts showed that 58% of Americans say they, a family member, or friend already have been impacted by the law, and twice as many say the impact has been negative as positive. The cost of health insurance and rising premium rates topped the list of negative responses, followed by poor coverage, loss of doctors, and limited access to hospitals and other providers. On Friday, 30,000 residents of Indiana learned their health insurance policies are being cancelled and likely will be swept into policies with much higher premiums.
Majorities of respondents disapprove of the Affordable Care Act, the IWV survey found:
“Voters in key congressional districts are clear in their opposition to what they have felt, seen, read and heard on the health-care law. Six-in-ten respondents have been impacted by the law, overwhelmingly the effect on Americans has been negative (60% – 38%),” said IWV President and CEO Heather R. Higgins. “While negative impact is felt across all age groups, seniors (65+) overwhelmingly (70%) report being negatively impacted by ObamaCare and 85 percent of uninsured respondents said the law has been negative. So who is ObamaCare actually helping?”
And if we need more evidence, a poll released last week by CBS News found that ObamaCare is under water by 19% — only 36% of voters support the law and 55% oppose it.
Policy expert Jeff Anderson has an important post over at The Weekly Standard about defensive claims by the Left that ObamaCare has receded as a campaign issue. He cites a survey released this weekend by the Des Moines Register showing Obamacare as the main issue in this election. As Anderson reports:
In a state that was to the left of the nation as a whole during each of the past three presidential elections, the Register finds that Republican Joni Ernst is leading Democrat Bruce Braley by 51 to 44 percent. The #1 reason why Ernst supporters said they are voting for her is “to get one step closer to repealing Obamacare” — 30 percent gave that answer. In contrast, the desire “to elect a person who will support Obamacare, while working to make it better” was only the #5 reason why Braley supporters said they are voting for him — only 13 percent gave that answer.
And ad buys confirm that opposition to ObamaCare moves voters:
According to Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG), anti-Obamacare ads have dominated GOP ad buys in October. In Senate races during the week of October 13-19, Republicans ran nearly 12,000 anti-Obamacare ads. That’s nearly twice as many as they ran on jobs/unemployment, and it’s more than they ran on immigration and international affairs combined. The top-5 issues for the GOP in Senate races for the week of October 13-19 were as follows: 1. Obamacare (nearly 12,000 ads); 2. Budget/Government Spending (nearly 9,000 ads); 3. Energy/Environment (nearly 7,000 ads); 4. Jobs/Unemployment (more than 6,000 ads); 5. Immigration (nearly 5,000 ads).
Nor was this a one-week aberration. For the week of October 6-12, Obamacare was also clearly the #1 issue for the GOP in Senate races (more than 11,000 ads), and that week Democrats in Senate races chipped in with about 500 anti-Obamacare ads of their own.
That’s a far cry from the Times’s wishful claim that “Republican attacks on the health care law … have largely receded from view.”
Jonathan Weisman of The New York Times is listening only to those on the Left when he writes, “Republican attacks on the health care law dominated the early months of the campaign, but now have largely receded from view.”
The evidence shows exactly the opposite. President Obama made firm pledges to Democratic members of Congress in 2010 that if they voted for the law, the voters would thank them and if they opposed it, they would be thrown out of office. The opposite happened, of course.
ObamaCare was not a major campaign issue in 2012 because Gov. Romney was so compromised on the issue. But it is back full force, much to the dismay of the Left.