Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) — who was actually an early skeptic of the law and is in some serious trouble this election year — is at least the third Democrat to campaign on his support for the Affordable Care Act. Pomeroy is running an ad accusing challenger Rick Berg (R), of putting “big insurance first” and “voting to make it easier for insurers to deny coverage” and like Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), and Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) before him, touting the more popular elements of reform in the hope that Americans will remember why they thought they needed reform in the first place.
Watch all 3 pro-reform adds:
It’s unclear how successful any of this will be, but Democrats can take solace in the fact that pieces of reform are still popular and the opposition may actually be overstated. As CAP’s Ruy Teixeira points out, while 40% of Americans said they had an unfavorable view of the Affordable Care Act in the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, about one-third of those with an unfavorable view think it should still be given a chance to work and a relatively small percentage is actually as “angry” about the law as Republicans would have you believe.
The larger point is, that by running on reform (rather than running away for it) Democrats can keep GOP’s misconceptions about the law from hardening into conventional wisdom. As E.J. Dionne put it yesterday, “If Democrats say nothing about what the actual health-care law does, the parody is all that will stick in voters’ minds. Its champions rarely talk about the measure as a whole because it will take longer than a brief election campaign to clean off all the mud that’s been splattered on this baby, which is still tainted by the ugly, drawn-out process that produced it.”
Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel points to a new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute (PPRI) which “bucks the conventional wisdom that voters are overwhelmingly mad about health care reform and that candidates who embrace it on the campaign trail are putting themselves at risk”:
Fifty-four percent of voters say they would be more likely to back a candidate who supported health care reform, according to the poll. That number includes 51 percent of independents and 79 percent of Democratic voters. Fifty-nine percent of Republican voters, however, say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supported the legislation.