House Republicans haven’t just failed to repeal Obamacare — their attempts to do so seem to have also caused the law’s popularity to skyrocket, making the path to future repeal even tougher to achieve.
A new poll released on Friday by McClatchy-Marist found support for Obamacare repeal plummeting, particularly among Republicans. In just one month, the number of Republican voters who want the law abolished dropped from 68 percent to 57 percent — an 11-point swing.
By contrast, a full 65 percent of the public want the bill to be either strengthened “so it does more” or left as is, according to the poll. A Quinnipiac poll last month found only 17 percent of the public supported Speaker Paul Ryan’s American Health Care Act.
“These Republican numbers suggest at the base there has been some erosion,” Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, told McClatchy. “Times have changed.”
The shift is an acceleration of the trend Vox’s Julia Belluz identified back in February: As Republican leadership approached repealing the bill, both the public in general and Republican voters in particular have liked it more and more.
Though many members of Congress seem reluctant to take up repeal again, some reporting this week suggests House Republicans insist they are still searching for a way to push forward repeal. Bloomberg reported that another vote on the bill may be held a next week, but no date has been scheduled.
Citing about a dozen polls, Belluz wrote:
As Republicans inch closer to repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, public support for the law is reaching new highs.
A new Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds the highest level of favorability toward the ACA in more than 60 tracking polls that it has run since 2010: 48 percent of voters reported support for the law, while 42 percent of those surveyed had an unfavorable opinion.
Forty-eight percent may not seem huge, but in context of the previous polls on Obamacare, it demonstrates yet again that as Congress gets closer to acting on the law, public support for the ACA seems to grow.
You could imagine a scenario in which the bill again grew less popular after House Republicans backed away from repeal. Instead, Republicans have both failed to achieve one of their central campaign promises and, in the process, made doing so in the future substantially more difficult.