CREDIT: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
Despite claiming that the shutdown fight represented their last best chance to undermine the Affordable Care Act, Republicans in Congress insist that they will continue to chip away at the health care reform law — even as uninsured Americans begin to sign up for coverage in the law’s new marketplaces. But poll numbers from Obama campaign pollster Joel Benenson suggest that the effort has little public support — even among Republican voters.
“Each time Republicans ratchet up their efforts to delay or defund the ACA instead of focusing on what should be their No. 1 priority — strengthening our economic recovery and creating jobs — they suffer,” Benenson wrote in a memo initially obtained by Politico. The document presents an “array of public polling from a wide variety of outlets” to show that the legislative effort to undermine the law has hurt the party “on every front”:
— A Quinnipiac poll shows that 58% oppose Congress cutting off funding for the health care law to stop its implementation.
— Kaiser’s tracking poll has consistently found strong opposition to scrapping the health care law. In late September, 56% disapproved of cutting off funding to the ACA.
— CBS / NY Times pollsters found 56% of voters want Congress to uphold the law and make it work as well as possible, compared to just 38% who want to stop it by defunding it.
— According to NBC/WSJ, only 39% support eliminating federal funding for the law while 50% oppose.
— In Gallup’s recent polling, just 29% want the law repealed, while 64% want it kept as it is, or kept with some changes.
— Even Tea Party supporters knew the Republican strategy was doomed, with a Fox News poll showing that 54% believed that the ACA would remain the law in spite of attempts to defund it.
Indeed, approval ratings for national Republicans reached new lows during the shutdown fight, while support for Obamacare increased, with a growing number of Americans urging lawmakers to give the law a chance. Still, the GOP’s three-year legislative campaign to undo the law has reaped some dividends: the party has undoubtedly dampened public enthusiasm for reform and brought it millions from its effort. In the last quarter, Cruz’s political action committee raised $797,000, nearly twice what it pulled in the quarter prior, and Heritage Action — which has pressured conservatives to vote against any bill that does not undermine Obamcare — collected $330,000.
Republicans now plan to turn their attention to the measure’s error-ridden implementation. On Oct 24, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the matter and conservative groups like FreedomWorks are planning to hold rallies to discourage young people from signing up for coverage.