The political fallout from health care reform — in three charts

at 02:42 PM ET, 07/02/2012

The Supreme Court’s ruling in support of President Obama’s health care law isn’t even a week old yet but we are already seeing some fascinating numbers about how the ruling changed — or didn’t change — how people feel about the Affordable Care Act.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, which has been polling on attitudes regarding health care since time immemoriam, released new data today that tells a fascinating story about the political future of the law.

What is that future? It depends on which numbers from the poll you look at it. Below are three charts that provide three varying narratives on what the law meant, means and will mean in our political landscape.

Storyline #1: Nothing changed.

Over the past year, those viewing the law unfavorably hovered somewhere between 41 percent and 44 percent in Kaiser data while those viewing it favorably bounced between 40 percent and 42 percent.

In the post-Court decision Kaiser poll, 41 percent saw the law favorably while 41 percent viewed it unfavorably. Statistically speaking, that means that nothing — at least in the four days since the decision — changed.

Storyline #2: Democrats won. Independents want to move on.

Kaiser finds that how you feel about the law (and the Court ruling) is almost entirely dependent on your party affiliation.

Eighty two percent of Democrats want opponents of the law to “stop their efforts to block the law and move on to other national problems” while 69 percent of Republicans want them to “continue trying to block the law from being implemented.”

Independents who tend to lean to either party tend to share the view of that party on what should come next. But among independents who do not lean to either party, 51 percent say that opponents of the law should simply move on while 35 percent say they should continue to try to block the law from being implemented.

A majority of independent independents saying that those opposing the law should move on is a major boost to the argument being forwarded by Democrats that says, in short: “No matter how you feel about the law, it’s over and done with now. It’s the law of the land. More urgent matters await.”

Storyline #3: Republicans really won because their base is wildly motivated.

Republicans insisted in the immediate aftermath of the ruling that Democrats and the media were misreading the outcome. Not only did the law remain unpopular, they argued, but the fact that the only way to get rid of it now is to elect former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney would make their base even more enthusiastic to vote than they already were.

The Kaiser data suggests that at least on that second point they were right. Thirty one percent of Republicans said they would now be more likely to vote this November now while just 18 percent of Democrats said the Supreme Court’s decision made them more likely to vote.

That near two-to-one disparity in enthusiasm is a major boon for Republicans.

Which of the storylines is the one that will prevail? Who knows? That’s why people vote. The election is only 127 days away.

 
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