A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds that voters are coming around in favor of the new health care law, with support for the measure at its highest point. Forty five percent of Americans support the measure and just 42% oppose it:
The poll found support increased since May among men (from 36 percent to 46 percent), people in their prime working years (from 35 percent to 49 percent among 30-49 year-olds) and Republicans (from 8 percent to 17 percent.) The uptick among Republicans comes even as party leaders are calling for the law’s repeal.
The changes coincide with a concerted effort by the Obama administration, congressional Democrats and their allies to sell the immediate benefits of the law. Those include coverage for young adults on their parents’ plan until they turn 26, a $250 rebate check for seniors with high prescription costs, tax credits for some small businesses that cover their employees and federal funding to train more primary care doctors and nurses.
It’s not clear — since voters always liked those separate elements of the health care law — that the administration’s campaign has helped turn around public opinion or if voters have just moved on to different issues and stopped listening to the Republican misinformation on the issue. The administration’s focus on all of the separate pieces could have re-framed the bill in voters’ minds as a patchwork of all the things they really liked in the first place: the new market regulations, closing the doughnut hole, kids on parents’ coverage.
But what’s clear, I think, is that polls like this will take the wind out of the GOP’s “repeal and replace” now sails. They’ve been arguing that we should set public policy in accordance with opinion polls and as these polls change, we should hold them to it.