White House and Democrats: you have a problem. Support for the health care law more commonly known as “Obamacare” continues to drop — meaning it’s something politically smart Republicans will (for now) run on and politically smart Democrats will (for now) not tout using a false assumption that the law is beloved. The polls suggests the Democrats’ explanation of the law is failing to catch on and the GOP’s explanation is being accepted:
Support for the country’s new health care law has dropped to a record low, according to a new national poll.
And a CNN/ORC International survey released Monday also indicates that most Americans predict that the Affordable Care Act will actually result in higher prices for their own medical care.
Only 35% of those questioned in the poll say they support the health care law, a 5-point drop in less than a month. Sixty-two percent say they oppose the law, up four points from November.
It’s always said: one poll does not an outlook make, several polls or trending does an outlook make. And the trending here is clear. Even worse: the opposition is coming from an important part of the Democratic Party’s winning coalition:
Nearly all of the newfound opposition is coming from women.
“Opposition to Obamacare rose six points among women, from 54% in November to 60% now, while opinion of the new law remained virtually unchanged among men,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. “That’s bad news for an administration that is reaching out to moms across the country in an effort to make Obamacare a success.”
According to the survey, 43% say they oppose the health care law because it is too liberal, with 15% saying they give the measure a thumbs down because it is not liberal enough. That means half the public either favors Obamacare, or opposes it because it’s not liberal enough, down four points from last month.
Sixty-three percent say they believe the new law will increase the amount of money they personally pay for medical care, which may not be a good sign for a law known as the “Affordable Care Act.”
The bottom line? It reflects a failure by the White House to explain the new law or, as Republicans will argue, the public understanding the new law all too well:
The survey also indicates that 42% say they will be personally worse off under Obamacare, with 16% saying the law will help them, and four in 10 saying it will have no effect on them.
Just over six in 10 say they believe they will be able to receive care from the same doctors that they now use, with 35% saying they will not be able to see the same doctors.
Can the White House turn this around as the law kicks in? Or will these beliefs be locked in and spread — in which case November 2014 could be a month Democrats should dread.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.