CONGRESS

Public Still Opposes Health Care Mandate

None

Linda Door, of Laguna Beach, Calif., protests against the Affordable Care Act. 
National Journal
Ronald Brownstein
March 26, 2012, 5:30 p.m.

Amer­ic­ans re­main over­whelm­ingly against re­quir­ing in­di­vidu­als to pur­chase health in­sur­ance, but they di­vide in half about the health care law that Pres­id­ent Obama signed in 2010, ac­cord­ing to the latest United Tech­no­lo­gies/Na­tion­al Journ­al Con­gres­sion­al Con­nec­tion Poll.

The poll found sweep­ing op­pos­i­tion to the so-called in­di­vidu­al man­date, whose con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity the Su­preme Court is con­sid­er­ing. But it also found the na­tion split along over­lap­ping lines of par­tis­an­ship and race when re­spond­ents were asked about the im­pact of Obama’s health re­form law and its ef­fort to ex­pand cov­er­age to the un­in­sured. At the same time, the Re­pub­lic­an pro­pos­al to re­struc­ture Medi­care in­to a premi­um-sup­port or vouch­er sys­tem faces res­ist­ance as wide­spread as the in­di­vidu­al man­date.

The man­date on in­di­vidu­als to pur­chase in­sur­ance or pay a pen­alty, as in earli­er na­tion­al polls, re­mains an idea without any sig­ni­fic­ant con­stitu­ency. Over­all, when asked if “the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment should or should not be able to re­quire all Amer­ic­ans to ob­tain health in­sur­ance or else pay a fine,” just 28 per­cent of those sur­veyed said they sup­por­ted the man­date, while 66 per­cent op­posed it.

The man­date faced op­pos­i­tion even from a nar­row ma­jor­ity of non­white adults; al­most three-fifths of young people; and two-thirds of col­lege-edu­cated white wo­men””all pil­lars of the mod­ern Demo­crat­ic co­ali­tion. Even Demo­crats, by a 48 per­cent to 44 per­cent plur­al­ity, said they op­posed a man­date. Two-thirds of in­de­pend­ents re­jec­ted the idea, and op­pos­i­tion soared to nearly three-fourths among whites without a col­lege edu­ca­tion. Re­pub­lic­ans op­posed the idea by more than 15-to-1.

The United Tech­no­lo­gies/Na­tion­al Journ­al Con­gres­sion­al Con­nec­tion Poll, con­duc­ted by Prin­ceton Sur­vey Re­search As­so­ci­ates In­ter­na­tion­al, sur­veyed 1,003 adults on March 22-25. It has a mar­gin of er­ror of plus or minus 3.6 per­cent­age points.

Ques­tions about the re­form law’s over­all im­pact split the coun­try more closely. Asked for their over­all as­sess­ment of the 2010 law, 43 per­cent of adults said they favored it, while 46 per­cent op­posed it.

Re­ac­tion di­verged along par­tis­an lines: While Demo­crats backed the law by 75 per­cent to 17 per­cent, Re­pub­lic­ans op­posed it by an even more lop­sided 86 per­cent to 6 per­cent. In­de­pend­ents split, with 45 per­cent op­pos­ing and 43 per­cent sup­port­ing.

The ra­cial di­vi­sion was equally vivid. Sixty-eight per­cent of non­white adults said they sup­por­ted the law, with only 18 per­cent op­posed. Among whites, just 33 per­cent ap­proved of the law, while 58 per­cent op­posed it.

White voters’ at­ti­tudes fis­sured fur­ther along edu­ca­tion­al lines. Al­though whites without a col­lege de­gree are un­in­sured at high­er rates than whites with ad­vanced edu­ca­tion, just 28 per­cent of non­col­lege whites said they favored the law, while 61 per­cent op­posed it. Work­ing-class white men and wo­men were equally du­bi­ous.

Col­lege-edu­cated whites were more sup­port­ive over­all, but with a sig­ni­fic­ant gender gap. Just 37 per­cent of col­lege-plus white men sup­por­ted the law, while 56 per­cent op­posed it. Col­lege-edu­cated white wo­men, usu­ally the white demo­graph­ic group most re­cept­ive to Demo­crats, were again more en­thu­si­ast­ic: 51 per­cent of them favored the law, while 46 per­cent op­posed it.

The coun­try di­vided sim­il­arly closely on an­oth­er ques­tion that asked about the law’s at­tempt to ex­pand cov­er­age to the un­in­sured. The ques­tion noted that fed­er­al es­tim­ates pro­ject the law would provide health in­sur­ance to 33 mil­lion of the 50 mil­lion Amer­ic­ans now without it at a cost of about $150 bil­lion. The ques­tion then asked re­spond­ents wheth­er Con­gress should re­peal the pro­gram be­cause it is un­af­ford­able “at a time of large budget de­fi­cits,” or keep it “be­cause it’s im­port­ant to re­duce the num­ber of Amer­ic­ans without health in­sur­ance.”

By 45 per­cent to 42 per­cent, re­spond­ents said that Con­gress should keep the pro­gram. Nearly four-fifths of Re­pub­lic­ans backed re­peal, while al­most three-fourths of Demo­crats wanted to main­tain the law. In­de­pend­ents, by 45 per­cent to 40 per­cent, sup­por­ted main­tain­ing the cov­er­age ex­pan­sion.

Once again, the ra­cial di­vide may be even more telling. Al­most two-thirds of minor­it­ies said that Con­gress should main­tain the law’s pro­vi­sions to ex­pand cov­er­age; by 49 per­cent to 38 per­cent, though, whites backed re­peal. Still, that’s a slightly bet­ter show­ing than the 33 per­cent of whites who favored the law over­all. Among whites, those without col­lege de­grees ac­coun­ted for all of the dif­fer­ence between the two ques­tions.

In a meas­ure of how dif­fi­cult it is to gen­er­ate sup­port for big change in al­most any dir­ec­tion on health care, the Medi­care re­struc­tur­ing at the cen­ter of the House GOP’s long-term budget plan fared as badly in the sur­vey as Obama’s in­di­vidu­al man­date. Asked what Medi­care should look like in the fu­ture, just 26 per­cent said it “should be changed to a sys­tem where the gov­ern­ment provides seni­ors with a fixed sum of money they could use either to pur­chase private health in­sur­ance or to pay the cost of re­main­ing in the cur­rent Medi­care pro­gram.” Fully 64 per­cent said “Medi­care should con­tin­ue as it is today, with the gov­ern­ment “¦ pay­ing doc­tors and hos­pit­als dir­ectly for the ser­vices they provide to seni­ors.”

Even a sol­id 56 per­cent to 30 per­cent ma­jor­ity of Re­pub­lic­ans pre­ferred the cur­rent sys­tem.

What We're Following See More »
TAKING A LONG VIEW TO SOUTHERN STATES
In Dropout Speech, Santorum Endorses Rubio
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

As expected after earlier reports on Wednesday, Rick Santorum ended his presidential bid. But less expected: he threw his support to Marco Rubio. After noting he spoke with Rubio the day before for an hour, he said, “Someone who has a real understanding of the threat of ISIS, real understanding of the threat of fundamentalist Islam, and has experience, one of the things I wanted was someone who has experience in this area, and that’s why we decided to support Marco Rubio.” It doesn’t figure to help Rubio much in New Hampshire, but the Santorum nod could pay dividends down the road in southern states.

Source:
‘PITTING PEOPLE AGAINST EACH OTHER’
Rubio, Trump Question Obama’s Mosque Visit
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

President Obama’s decision to visit a mosque in Baltimore today was never going to be completely uncontroversial. And Donald Trump and Marco Rubio proved it. “Maybe he feels comfortable there,” Trump told interviewer Greta van Susteren on Fox News. “There are a lot of places he can go, and he chose a mosque.” And in New Hampshire, Rubio said of Obama, “Always pitting people against each other. Always. Look at today – he gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims.”

Source:
THE TIME IS NOW, TED
Cruz Must Max Out on Evangelical Support through Early March
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

For Ted Cruz, a strong showing in New Hampshire would be nice, but not necessary. That’s because evangelical voters only make up 21% of the Granite State’s population. “But from the February 20 South Carolina primary through March 15, there are nine states (South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina) with an estimated white-Evangelical percentage of the GOP electorate over 60 percent, and another four (Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, and Missouri) that come in over 50 percent.” But after that, he better be in the catbird’s seat, because only four smaller states remain with evangelical voter majorities.

Source:
CHRISTIE, BUSH TRYING TO TAKE HIM DOWN
Rubio Now Winning the ‘Endorsement Primary’
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Since his strong third-place finish in Iowa, Marco Rubio has won endorsement by two sitting senators and two congressmen, putting him in the lead for the first time of FiveThirtyEight‘s Endorsement Tracker. “Some politicians had put early support behind Jeb Bush — he had led [their] list since August — but since January the only new endorsement he has received was from former presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham.” Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that fueled by resentment, “members of the Bush and Christie campaigns have communicated about their mutual desire to halt … Rubio’s rise in the polls.”

Source:
ARE YOU THE GATEKEEPER?
Sanders: Obama Is a Progressive
1 days ago
THE LATEST

“Do I think President Obama is a progressive? Yeah, I do,” said Bernie Sanders, in response to a direct question in tonight’s debate. “I think they’ve done a great job.” But Hillary Clinton wasn’t content to sit out the latest chapter in the great debate over the definition of progressivism. “In your definition, with you being the gatekeeper of progressivism, I don’t think anyone else fits that definition,” she told Sanders.

×