The GOP was swept into full control of Washington, in part, on their promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. But if a couple of new polls accurately reflect the mood of the electorate, voters are not happy with how Republicans are going about the task of fulfilling that promise.
In a Fox News survey released Wednesday, 54% of registered voters said they oppose the current version of the American Health Care Act, while only 34% approve of the GOP bill. The law’s deep unpopularity comes largely from almost total disdain on the part of Democrats; 86% of their voters oppose the plan. On the other side, the bill is only moderately popular, with 69% of registered Republicans saying they approve of the bill as it stands now.
Another survey, this one done by Public Policy Polling, finds grim news for the Republican healthcare bill as well. In their survey, only 37% of Republicans support the bill, while 71% of Democrats oppose it.
Democrats will read more into these surveys than is really there; drastic changes to major federal programs – particularly ones that brush up against entitlements – are almost always viewed with skepticism and trepidation among voters. As a few articles have been gracious enough to point out, Obamacare was just as unpopular in the months leading up to its passage. Now, according to Democrats, the ACA is a miraculous, magical law that lived up to its promise and then some.
Right now, voters are looking at this bill through the lens of the media’s reporting and the hazy fog of Republican infighting, both of which have cast the healthcare overhaul in a negative light. That’s not to say that Republicans have come up with a flawless bill by any means, but it isn’t as bad as those on the left are making it out to be.
Still, there’s no doubt that Republicans have lost control of the narrative on Obamacare, and that’s a problem. Paul Ryan tried to appease everyone, and he wound up alienating Trump supporters, Democrats, and fiscal conservatives alike. Meanwhile, Obamacare’s popularity is growing like never before in the law’s history. And the GOP has been known to back down when public pressure turns against them.
The GOP leadership needs to get out in front of this impending disaster before its too late. Ryan is right about one thing, at least – if they can’t repeal Obamacare now, the chance may never come again.