The Media Still Pretending That Health Care Reform Is Not Popular

Ezra Klein notes that despite the orchestrated GOP campaign to transform any small regulatory change or news report into a ‘health care law is failing’ storyline, health-care reform is actually getting more, not less, popular:

But by coincidence, I had been looking at some of the polling on health-care reform moments before the report landed in my inbox. A USA Today/Gallup poll that came out this morning showed that 49 percent of Americans think the Affordable Care Act is a “good thing,” while 46 percent think it’s a “bad thing.”

This poll comes on the heels of an Associated Press-GfK poll showing the same movement. So that’s two recent polls showing a lift in the bill’s popularity, taking it from a slight plurality in opposition to a slight plurality in favor. Two polls is enough to make me curious, so I headed over to, and it does seem we’re looking at a trend. The site’s aggregate chart of recent polls doesn’t yet show support overwhelming opposition, but it does show support rising and opposition falling. In fact, the bill’s spread looks better than at any point in the past year.


This all sounds right, but I want to link back to my criticism of how the press covered health care reform. During the actual legislative debate, political tensions and negative stories received the majority of the coverage and that’s still the case today.

Just consider this WSJ report about the Gallup poll Klein references. It’s headlined ‘Gallup: Health Care Overhaul Support Flatlines,’ implying that ‘the reform patient is dead’ — despite the fact that the poll shows that a majority support the new law. This could be one in-artful headline, to be sure, but you can imagine that if the numbers were flipped, we’d be seeing more sensational accounts about how the Democrats’ top domestic accomplishment is floundering. But here, with support increasing, even in the face of daily GOP attacks, the press is running mixed stories at best.