Obamacare hits a new low in popularity. It may not matter all that much.


Alan Hoyle with Wake Up Ministry protests Obamacare outside the Supreme Court during the Hobby Lobby case, which allowed employers with religious objections to opt out of paying for employees' contraception coverage. (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA)

A new poll shows Obamacare is more unpopular than ever. What it also shows: That it's not really a big voting issue heading into the final three months of the 2014 campaign.

The Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll, which has been keeping constant tabs on public sentiment on the Affordable Care Act for nearly four years, shows 53 percent of Americans now have an unfavorable impression of the law. That's the highest on record and an increase of eight percentage points in one month.


Support for the law didn't drop by the same amount, but rather some in the "undecided" camp apparently decided that they no longer like the law.

It's not clear what precipitated this sudden increase in opposition to Obamacare -- especially since the law hasn't been on the tongues of members of Congress for quite some time (even as it remains on TV screens). It's quite possible that it's a blip on the radar. But Kaiser surveyed more than 1,500 people for its monthly poll, which is a sizable sample that should yield pretty solid results.

What's most interesting, though, is that even as it shows a sharp uptick in opposition to Obamacare, it shows Americans really don't prioritize health care that much when it comes to the upcoming election.

Just 40 percent of Americans say President Obama and Congress are paying too little attention to health care as an issue. That ranks behind all manner of different issues, including education, the deficit, immigration and taxes -- and even the situation in Iraq.


A skeptic would suggest that's because Congress and the president have done plenty with Obamacare -- including attempting to repeal it (House Republicans) and making last-minute changes to it (Obama). Maybe people think it's already received plenty of attention.

But Kaiser also asked an open-ended question about which issues are most important to people in the November elections, and just 5 percent mentioned Obamacare/the Affordable Care Act by name. Another 17 percent mentioned "health care" more generally. And that's even as the poll allowed them to mention as many as two issues. Both the economy/jobs and immigration were mentioned more often as priorities for American voters.

It's pretty clear that Obamacare is hurting Democrats as the 2014 election approaches, and this poll suggests the law is at the very least as unpopular as ever, if not getting moreso. This issue is and will continue to motivate Republicans, and maybe even some moderate voters who see a failure of leadership from Democrats.

But it's also true that health care is hardly the dominant voting issue of the 2014 election -- regardless of how much money is being spent to drive home that point.

 

A Koch brothers-backed group targeting millennials pulled out all the stops at their anti-Obamacare carnival to try to show so-called “young invincibles” the benefits of the health-care law are nothing but an illusion. (Jackie Kucinich/The Washington Post)
Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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