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Public Opinion and the ACA, Individual Level Edition

[ 24 ] July 19, 2012 |

NPR released a new poll this morning of LVs concerning attitudes towards the ACA and the USSC decision.  Briefly, a) there’s not much new here, and b) most of the interesting stuff is within the MoE anyway.  What these new data do reiterate is that support for both the ACA itself and the Supreme Court decision are heavily mediated by pre-existing partisanship, as highlighted by my post a couple weeks ago on state level support for the ACA (which I’m going to follow up on soon as I’ve added several new variables to that little dataset).

The meat of this survey is in their (small) oversampling of the “battleground” states: CO, FL, IA, MI, NV, NH, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI (notably, all went for Obama in 2008).  Respondents from these states are marginally yet consistently more critical of both the incumbent and the ACA.  The only item where battleground respondents are more likely than the general population to take the “Democratic” position is ‘ok, let’s accept the Supreme Court decision and move on to focus on the economy etc.’ (page 12) by 53%-44%.  For comparison, BG respondents disapprove of the ACA 39% – 52%, whereas the general population is 43% – 48%.  One would think that this might extend to Obama’s chances in these states in November.

Yet, the tendency of BG respondents to be more opposed to the ACA and the incumbent is not reflected in current polling in those states.  In only two does Nate Silver’s forecasting model predict less than a 60% probability of an Obama victory (Romney is predicted to win both Florida at 50.7% and North Carolina at 70.4%).  Both Silver and electoral-vote.com running polling averages range from marginally to rather significantly in favor of the incumbent, with only E-V’s FL (-1%), NC (-1%) and 538′s NC (-0.6%) even slightly in the Republican column.  It’s difficult to draw any substantive conclusions from this as the ACA might be a choice determinant at the margins with certain subsets of the potential electorate.  However, given that the BG states are predisposed (according to these data) to consider the ACA and the incumbent more critically, that Obama would likely win (at least) ten of these 12 states if the election were held today, this offers a conservative test of the hypothesis that the ACA is not going to swing the election.  As I discussed in my state level post on this issue, the ACA is interpreted through the prism of partisanship, as is the incumbent himself.

Perhaps the most interesting finding from this survey, at least most likely to induce a chuckle, is the response to this question (page 9):

Does the fact that the Supreme Court said the health care law is constitutional make you more likely to support the law, less likely to support the law, or does the Supreme Court decision have no effect on your support for the law?

Overall, 21% are more likely to support the ACA, 16% less likely, and it makes no difference to 58% (again, supporting the hypothesis that it’s all about pre-existing partisanship).  BG voters are a near exact replication of the overall sample (21/17/58). However, when limited to Republican respondents, the numbers are 8/30/56.

30% of Republican respondents are less likely to support the ACA because the Republican led Supreme Court ruled it constitutional.  One might excuse the 6% of Democrats believing this, but Republicans?

Comments (24)

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  1. Romney Surging in Polls says:

    See the latest NYT poll? Obama’s favorability rating has nose dived and he is now behind Romney. Obama’s negative attacks are backfiring badly. Looking like increasingly good prospects of a President Romney. And then ObamaCare goes down for good.

  2. Quincy says:

    I’m sure there’s no actual causal relationship between the SCOTUS decision and Republican support for the ACA. Republicans are just emotionally disposed to express their dislike of “Obamacare” in the strongest language available. If the survey had asked “Do you hate the ACA as much as humanly possible?” That 30% would probably have answered “Yes.” Then, if given a second survey five minutes later that asked “Do you hate the ACA even more than you did the last time you were asked?” they would answer “Yes” again.

    • Conservatives just have too much invested in ACA hate, emotionally speaking, to back down. Doesn’t matter who backs it, or with what arguments. This ain’t about logic. The only way that emotion will be overcome is with another emotion: frustration and helplessness, after a string of election defeats.

  3. Joshua says:

    30% of Republican respondents are less likely to support the ACA because the Republican led Supreme Court ruled it constitutional. One might excuse the 6% of Democrats believing this, but Republicans?

    Is this surprising? The hardcore 30% dead-enders do not debate, and they do not factfind. They don’t see the SCOTUS as anything but a place to cram right-wing dogma down everybody’s throat (actually that’s the only legitimate purpose of government).

    There’s no way a ruling against the ACA would cause them to change their mind. They only change their opinions when Hannity and Limbaugh tell them to. All the ruling proved to them was that Roberts is a dirty RINO lib.

  4. Joe says:

    30% of Republican respondents are less likely to support the ACA because the Republican led Supreme Court ruled it constitutional

    Four libruls and an unprincipled hack afraid that Obama will be mean to him or something can’t be trusted! [/sarcasm]

  5. I can explain the 30% of Republicans who say they are less likely to support the ACA because the of the Supreme Court decision: the court’s characterization of the penalty as a “tax,” and the Republicans’ spin, has given them a new, anti-tax reason to oppose it.

    Or perhaps I’m giving them too much credit.

    • Dirk Gently says:

      30% puts them within the margin of error of the Crazification Factor. Seems like this mystery is solved.

    • Tom Scudder says:

      Honestly, I think they probably just took the most negative answer available without thinking a lot about it.

      • That’s the difference between us and them.

        Liberals are asked if they approve or disapprove of the ACA more after the Supreme Court decision, and think “Hmmm, the ACA is an improvement over the status quo, but it could have been more of an improvement – although, to be fair, it’s an open question whether any better outcome could have been achieved given the nature of the political system circa 2009. But then the Supreme Court decision opened the door for the Medicare expansion to be curtailed. But is that a reason to support the ACA itself less? Should I look at it as a binary yes/no question – does this make me more likely to not support it in toto – or should I look at this as a question about intensity of support? Can I get the exact language of the question again?”

        Whereas conservatives asked if they approve or disapprove of the ACA more after the Supreme Court decision, and think, “Fuckin libruls. What answer would piss them off the most? Fags. Can I answer “fags?”

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