Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why the Repeal and Replace is Political Suicide

Hi Everyone,

I posted earlier on this so I won't repeat the general argument. But now there are polling numbers to back it up. I got these from Polling (see link to the right).

Here are some highlights:
Aprove, No Reservation: 15%
Approve, Did Not Go Far Enough: 27%
Dissaprove, Support Some of it: 31%
Dissaprove, All of it: 25%

As you can see the Republicans were correct that a majority dissaproved of the health care reform bill. But what they don't say (and apparently aren't noticing themselves) is that more than half of the dissaproving respondents actually LIKE parts of the bill. The problem for the Republicans is that those people probably don't all agree about which parts they like and don't like. That means that for any given amendment the Republicans want to make to the bill to weaken it, they will likely face a majority in defense of the Democrats' bill.

When the question is reframed to specifically deal the vague "Repeal and Replace" strategy, the Democrats also appear to be on safe ground:

Leave as is: 23%
Increase Government Involvement: 27%
Repeal and Replace: 47%

A majority of respondents either want the law left the way the Democrats set it up or want the government role INCREASED (hardly what the Republicans are likely to propose). True, 47% say they want "Repeal and Replace" but that does not indicate what aspects would be repealed. Keep in mind that any repeal will not be a one line law saying "everything the Democrats did in March 2010 is hereby repealed." The Republicans will have to enumerate the benefits they are repealing that will fracture that 47%.

What about the emotional response to the new law?

Enthusiastic: 15%
Pleased: 30%
Displeased: 27%
Angry: 26%

45% are either pleased or enthusiastic about the law. And of course, from the earlier questions, we should assume that some significant portion of the 27% who are displeased with the bill are displeased in ways that will not help the Republicans.

What does all this suggest? The health care reform bill that the Demcorats just passed over lock step intransigence from the entire Republican party is popular enough with enough people to stay the law the land and be the foundation for future laws. I think it also shows that a lot of voters are working on emotion rather than solid information about the law. As information about the law gets more widespread, I suspect that portion of people who "support some of it" will increase.

This is political suicide because the Republicans are playing to the 25% of the population who are angry. Anger is rarely a solid basis for winning elections. There was plenty of anger among the Democratic base in 2004 but they lost. You MIGHT make the case that anger alone was the source of the 2006 Democratic victory in the Congressional elections. Vitriolic anger turns off most independent voters and risks energizing the base of your opponents. You have to be very very sure that the independents are angry too and for the same reasons or you are on thin ice with an anger based election strategy.

Oh, and blowing your campaign funds on strip clubs is not going to help.


The Law Talking Guy said...

The unpopular part of the bill is the "individual mandate." But that is what the insurance companies - who financially back the GOP- wanted most out of the bill. The popular parts are the restrictions on insurance companies, which the GOP will not campaign against. Will the GOP promise to repeal only the individual mandate? They can't. There is no chance that the GOP will move to repeal the individual mandate but leave intact the politically popular bans on plan rescissions or denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. That is the worst-case scenario for private insurers, which they won't accept.

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