For months, conservatives have used the unpopularity of health care
reform to argue against its passage by Congress. If the American people
oppose it, they argued, Congress should respect that. So it's a curious
turn of events that American public opinion may have now shifted in
favor of health care reform. A joint Gallup-USA Today poll
conducted immediately after the bill passed reports that just over half of respondants support
the legislation and that exactly half are "pleased" or "enthusiastic"
about it. Why do Americans now support the reforms they opposed only as
recently as two weeks ago?
- Nothing Succeeds Like Success The Washington Post's Ezra Klein writes, "Voters like success, the media covers winners more positively than losers, and people take their cues from outcomes."
- This Has Always Been The Case The New York Times' Paul Krugman grunts,
"Actually, it’s not clear whether public opinion has changed all that
much: a substantial fraction of those who disapproved of the reform did
so because it didn’t go far enough."
- Will Settle Into 'Generic Partisan Controversy' Liberal blogger Matthew Yglesias predicts,
"Over the next few months, we’ll see that this is a pretty generic
partisan controversy on an issue where Democrats are generally more
trusted. The idea that running around the country denouncing the
Affordable Care Act as the second coming of Joseph Stalin and promising
to repeal it at the soonest possible opportunity is going to be a big
political winner is silly."
- The Media Did This The Economist explains,
"The American people did not have clearly formed opinions on the
content of this bill. They had vague opinions on the bill that were
heavily influenced by the media narrative surrounding the development
and legislative process of the bill's progress. Over the weekend, that
narrative went from one of quagmire, self-recrimination among Democrats
and dire warnings among Republicans, to one of accomplishment,
celebrations among Democrats, and dire warnings among Republicans".
- People Want More Reform Talking Points Memo's Evan McMorris-Santoro thinks
the poll suggests Americans want the Democrats to keep going on reform,
which is "good news for Democrats worried about their election
chances." 48% of respondants "called the bill 'a good first step' and
should actually be followed by more reform efforts. Should the poll live up to the paper's preview of it, it would be something of a coup for Democrats."
- Support Will Continue Rising The Washington Monthly's Steve Benen foresees
"the Republican nightmare coming to fruition -- the country gets a
better system, Democrats get a victory, the president looks like a
hero, and the country is pleased with the results." He writes, "As more
of the country learns that GOP scare tactics were baseless, and hears
about the new benefits that kick in this year, the polls will likely
- People Fatigued on Health Care Politics Daily's David Corn sighs,
"my hunch is that a lot of Americans are also exhausted by the reform
tussle and may want to move on. Keeping this fight alive could serve
the Republicans well among their Tea Party base, but it might turn off
independent voters and others who wonder if the GOP has become a party
of sore losers, who prefer re-fighting a lost battle to focusing on
revving up the economy."
- This Is Just One Poll, People Stats wonk Nate Silver with the reality check.
"But -- hold your horses. This is just one poll, and even if the bounce
is real, it may very well evaporate," he writes. "It's not unusual for
a candidate or cause to see its numbers improve after it wins a couple
of high-stakes news cycles -- but the bounce usually evaporates after a
couple of weeks."
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