Obamacare is such a thoroughly partisan issue that even when voters are asked about their own lives, they answer along party lines.
“How has Obamacare affected you?” is a question whose answer depends on your income, how you get health insurance, and a couple of other demographics. But how people think Obamacare has affected them depends instead on their politics, according to the latest tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
There has always been a stubborn partisan divide in public approval of Obamacare, and the latest Kaiser poll shows no change on that front.
But the survey indicates that even when describing real-world experiences — at a time when millions of people have gained access to coverage and millions have seen their plans canceled — voters still see those effects through a political lens.
A majority of all respondents (60 percent) and even a majority of Republicans (54 percent) said they had not been directly affected by the health care law.
But among those who said they had directly felt the effects of Obamacare, Democrats overwhelmingly said they had been helped, while Republicans overwhelmingly said they had been hurt.
Even after controlling for income and insurance status — the issues that actually determine who’s affected, and how — politics still predicts whether people think they’ve been helped or hurt, Kaiser said.
Politics also shapes how voters think the law has affected the people around them.
A lot of Democrats (48 percent) said they personally know someone who was able to get health insurance because of Obamacare. Only 19 percent of Republicans said they know such a person.
By contrast, Republicans were twice as likely to say they know someone who lost their coverage, or their job, because of the law.
Overall public opinion of the law has barely changed in a year and a half; it’s deeply divided and leans negative, by 45 percent to 38 percent, in the latest poll. But the politics could favor Republicans more than those figures let on, thanks to a persistent intensity gap.
A slight majority (51 percent) of all registered voters said they’re “tired of hearing candidates for Congress talk about the health care law,” but 60 percent of Republicans disagreed with that statement, saying they’d rather keep the Obamacare debate alive.
Critics’ feelings about Obamacare continue to run deeper than supporters’; 33 percent of all respondents, and 61 percent of Republicans, have a “very unfavorable” view of the law. By contrast, just 19 percent of all respondents and 36 percent of Democrats have a “very favorable” view.
Republican voters also don’t seem likely to push their candidates away from a focus on repeal. When asked whether Congress should focus on fixing the law or replacing it, 65 percent of Republican voters chose repeal. (Among all voters, fixing the law held a 59-percent edge.)
While majorities of registered voters are tired of the Obamacare debate and unsatisfied with the GOP’s “repeal” message, the Kaiser survey suggests that the issue remains a big motivator for the Republican base — and that may be all the party needs for November’s midterms, which traditionally hinge on turnout rather than on persuading independent voters.
What We're Following See More »
"Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who wrote the explosive dossier alleging ties between Donald Trump and Russia," says in a new book by The Guardian's Luke Harding that "Trump's land and hotel deals with Russians needed to be examined. ... Steele did not go into further detail, Harding said, but seemed to be referring to a 2008 home sale to the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. Richard Dearlove, who headed the UK foreign-intelligence unit MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said in April that Trump borrowed money from Russia for his business during the 2008 financial crisis."
"The British publicist who helped set up the fateful meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016 is ready to meet with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's office, according to several people familiar with the matter. Rob Goldstone has been living in Bangkok, Thailand, but has been communicating with Mueller's office through his lawyer, said a source close to Goldstone."
"Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak said on Wednesday that it would take him more than 20 minutes to name all of the Trump officials he's met with or spoken to on the phone. ... Kislyak made the remarks in a sprawling interview with Russia-1, a popular state-owned Russian television channel."