On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. Over the next six years, the law played a major role in Democrats losing their majorities in the House and Senate in the 2010 and 2014 midterms. And, it continues to be the biggest accomplishment of Obama's presidency and the central pillar of his legacy.
Given how much influence Obamacare has had on our political debate and our elections since it became law, you might think that public opinion on it has moved all over the map. Nope! Not even close.
Thanks to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which has been polling on Obamacare since it became a law, we have data that stretches way, way back. Even the briefest look at that data shows you how public opinion was set even before the president signed the bill into law -- and how little has changed since. (You can spend LOTS of time fiddling with Kaiser's great polling interactive on the law.)
Here's a look at all adults when asked whether they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Obamacare.
The real story when it comes to understanding public opinions on Obamacare, however, comes when you look at how partisans view the law. Democrats like it, Republicans hate it and independents are slightly more negative than positive about it.
Here's that same Kaiser chart broken out by party affiliation.
The simple fact is this: Views about Obamacare and views about the president are inseparable -- and always have been. The law was, from its inception, synonymous with its chief cheerleader. Like Obama? Then you like Obamacare. Don't? You hate the law.
We've noted before that there has been virtually no significant movement in how people regard Obama -- and how that lack of movement is historically anomalous.
Minds were made up on Obama shortly after he took office. Obama and the law that now bears his name became inseparable on that day and have never parted ways since. No external events have affected peoples's opinions about Obama for any extended period of time and, unsurprisingly, the same holds true for his law.
"You know, [Mitt Romney] calls it Obamacare," Obama said during the 2012 campaign. "I like the name. I do care."
Obama understood even then that he owned the law -- for better or worse.