Jonathan Bernstein has words of wisdom for us: Ignore Those Polls! Those being the recent CNN poll that show that over half of the people don’t like Obamacare: 43-54. Apparently, Republicans are claiming that the poll proves them right: the people hate Obamacare! But then liberals have pushed back. Of the 54% who don’t like Obamacare, 16 percentage points of them don’t like it because it is not liberal enough. These are people like me who still want Medicare for all but who will take Obamacare over the Republican alternative, which is nothing at all. That means the numbers look more like this: 59-38. Liberals win, hooray!
But Bernstein points out that most people don’t really know what they’re talking about. It isn’t until next year that Obamacare even begins its full implementation. So asking people about Obamacare now probably shows about as much as asking people who they will vote for in 2016. And he’s right. The truth of the matter is after Obamacare is fully implemented, people will start to have real opinions on it—opinions that are based upon their experiences and not the latest talking points they heard on the TV machine.
Still, I think Bernstein is wrong to pooh-pooh the poll all together. After all, a couple of years ago, Obamacare polled far worse. Two years ago, the numbers were 43-48. My guess is that the change is liberals moving from being against Obamacare to being for it. In the end, that 38% is just the Republican base. And they will be against it until they forget it was a Democratic program. We can look forward twenty years from now when Republicans carry signs that say, “Government Hands Off My Obamacare!”
So I wouldn’t go as far as Jonathan Bernstein. The Republicans are kidding themselves if they think that this poll is good news for them. One thing about us liberals: we’re so used to getting nothing that when we get a minor victory like Obamacare, we take it—even if we grumble about it. Democrats do have a reason to be encouraged by this poll. However, Bernstein is right: in the final analysis, it doesn’t matter. Obamacare will prove itself or it will not. But given it only has to complete with the Republican offer of nothing (not even the fee for the gaming license), it looks hopeful.