If reputable polling means anything to anyone any more, the findings in a new McClatchy-Marist Poll should signal to the White House and Republican leaders in congress hell bent on scuttling the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [ACA] that they are now swimming up stream against an increasing tide of Americans who want the law expanded, not contracted or eliminated as the American Health Care Act Republicans tried to pass last week would do.
More Americans, especially Americans who fly the Republican flag, are opposed to an outright repeal of Obamacare, according to the McClatchy-Marist Poll released Thursday. The survey of 1,062 adults found that 65 percent of registered voters either want to see the ACA maintained as is or strengthened, a seven-point uptick over a February McClatchy-Marist poll that asked the same question.
ACA Rising With GOP Base
Among Republicans, support for repeal of Obamacare fell to 57 percent, which represents an 11 point drop since McClatchy-Marist polled the issue in February. Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, said the numbers for Republicans suggest there has been some erosion. Mr. Miringoff said the poll’s findings indicates Americans could potentially support changes to Obamacare, but only if that means widening the scope of its coverage. “In terms of the notion of ‘repeal and replace,’ a repeal is only acceptable if the replacement is actually an expansion, not a contraction,” Miringoff said.
Poll results show opinion fell along party lines, as 91 percent of Democrats say Obamacare should be strengthened or kept as is. For independents, 68 percent hold the same view, including 54 percent who said the law should be expanded to do more. What should be disconcerting to Republican leaders like House speaker Paul Ryan or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump is that a growing minority of Republicans—23 percent—say the ACA should be strengthened, with another seven percent saying it should be maintained in its current form.
The American Health Care Act, the bill constructed in secret and presented by the White House as the only choice, isn’t popular at all, according to a March Quinnipiac University poll that found 56 percent disapproved of the Republican plan to undermine Obamacare, with just 17 percent responding in favor. Only 41 percent of Republicans backed the bill, with 24 percent in opposition.
Public Policy Polling also has a new poll finding that Donald Trump’s approval rating has fallen to its lowest level yet in our polling with only 40 percent of voters approving of the job the president he’s doing compared to 53 percent who disapprove. Here’s another survey that shows the ACA hitting 52 percent with voters versus 37 percent who disapprove.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich has soaked up a lot of media attention by voicing support for keeping expanded Medicaid. He’s also said in the past, though, that he would also scuttle the ACA that expanded Medicaid is part of, even though he’s calling for bipartisanship now. But Mr. Kasich isn’t the best example of bipartisanship since he’s been partisan on about every issue with the exception of expanded Medicaid. It might be news to Gov. Kasich, a former 18-year member of Congress, that both parties have been moving away from bipartisanship for decades.
With the exception of Ohio’s Democrats in Washington, a small tribe that includes Sen. Sherrod Brown, and Congressmen Paul Ryan, Joyce Beatty, Marcy Kaptur and Marcia Fudge, the other dozen members, all Republicans lead by Pat Tiberi, want to trash the ACA, even though they have no plan other than the American Health Care Act to put up for discussion.
For anyone who has the time to check, almost every Republican candidate running for federal office over the last four cycles (2010-2016), including Donald Trump included, said “repeal and replace” of the ACA was absolutely necessary. Republicans won three of those four elections, taking the House from the Democrats in 2010, the Senate in 2014, and now the White House last year, according to Kyle Kondit, a political guru of sorts who writes at Sabato’s Crystal Ball.
Now that the ACA could be around for a while after the White House fumbled the ball so badly, the issue of health care, who gets it, how it’s delivered and what the costs are, should be an important issue in Ohio’s race to fill an open seat for governor in 84 months. The issue, so important to so many Ohioans now, will also play a key role in whether Sen. Brown returns for a third term in two years or whether his head will hang on the trophy wall of Republicans, if his likely challenger, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, is successful the second time around to unseat Sen. Brown, who will defend the ACA to his last breath.