Three polls released this week confirm that Americans oppose defunding Obamacare — even though the polls also show dissatisfaction with the law.
Veteran Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who helped conduct one of the polls, told me that disapproval does not necessarily translate into support for GOP efforts to defund the law. “There’s not a one-to-one ratio between ‘I have a negative view’ and ‘I want to have government funding totally eliminated,’ ” he said.
That poll, released by CNBC, found that 44 percent oppose eliminating funding for Obamacare vs. 38 percent who favor it — even though 46 percent view Obamacare negatively and only 29 percent view it positively.
A Bloomberg poll found, 50 percent to 43 percent, that Americans say Republicans in Congress should accept that Obamacare is the law of the land — even though more say they will be worse off under the law. And a New York Times-CBS News poll found, 56 percent to 38 percent, that Americans support upholding Obamacare rather than defunding it — again, even though more say they’ll be worse off under it.
Clearly, GOP efforts to sabotage the law are seen as overkill by the mainstream. In all three polls, majorities or pluralities want Republicans to give the law a chance to work.
The CNBC poll had some fascinating other findings. Only 3 percent of respondents have had work hours reduced because of the law, and only 3 percent have lost private health coverage because of it — which suggests that two leading GOP talking points are not matched by broader public experiences. But the poll found that nearly one in five says insurance premiums are higher because of the law.
All of this underscores that public opinion is far from settled. McInturff said it’s possible that opinions on Obamacare could get worse if people find that the exchanges limit their options. But it’s also possible that “subgroups who might be helped might become core supporters.”
That latter scenario is what some Obamacare proponents are hoping for — constituencies will evolve that will be alienated if Republicans keep up their drive to destroy the law.
I asked McInturff what it means that Republicans interpret disapproval of the law as support for their efforts to defund it. “The big-picture finding is, they are comfortably aligned with the core part of their political base,” he said. “But the data would indicate that, beyond their core political base, they’re on fuzzier terrain.”
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