My Post colleague Sean Sullivan makes a very good point today: For all the certainty among Republicans that the collapse of Obamacare is a certain winner for them, a very small percentage of Americans say they’ve actually been negatively impacted by the law.
He points to a Gallup poll this week finding that only 19 percent of Americans say the law has hurt them or their family, while 64 percent say it has had no effect, and another 13 percent say it has helped.
But who are those 19 percent?
It turns out those telling Gallup the law has hurt them or their family are very disproportionately Republican and conservative. I asked Gallup for a breakdown of that 19 percent. The results:
Sixty percent of those who say the law has hurt them or their families are Republicans or GOP-leaning independents. Only 23 percent are Dems or Dem-leaning independents, and another 15 percent are non-leaning independents.
Meanwhile, there’s a strong ideological tilt here. A majority, 53 percent, of those who say the law has hurt them or their families are self-identified conservatives. Only 34 percent of them are moderates, and even fewer (10 percent) are liberals.
It’s always possible Republicans and conservatives are disproportionately impacted by the law, but it’s also possible that some who already dislike Obamacare are more likely to tell pollsters they’ve been negatively impacted by it, perhaps because they’re inclined to blame problems they’re experiencing with the health system in general on the law. Of course, this could work the other way around: Dems and Dem-leaners could be less inclined to say they are being hurt by it.
None of this is to minimize the fact that disapproval of Obamacare continues to run high, and Dems will continue to be weighed down politically by the law. But as Sullivan says, a lot is riding on whether more Americans will begin saying the law has personally impacted them than feel that way now:
Politically, the question moving forward is twofold and especially pertinent for Democrats, who have been put on defense by the law’s rocky rollout: 1) Will the share of the public feeling the effects of the law increase dramatically between now and November? 2) If so, how will that affect the balance between those who feel they have been hurt and those who feel they have been helped?
With the health-care law emerging as a focal point in the midterm campaign, the answers to those two questions could speak volumes about the trajectory of the Obamacare debate as November draws near.
Yes, and it will also be worth drilling down a bit more deeply into who those who say the law is hurting them actually are. What say you, poli-sci types?