During our debates about the bully pulpit, “messaging,” and health care reform, commenters repeatedly asked if messaging isn’t particularly important or effective in determining the popularity of legislation how the “death panels” meme became so powerful. The answer to the question is that it didn’t. Neither positive nor negative messaging significantly altered public opinion. Public opinion on the PPACA has been stable simply because for all intents and purposes the only people who pay attention to messaging already have fully formed positions on the issue.
This doesn’t mean that public opinion on the PPACA will remain stable. But if it changes, it will because the public likes or doesn’t like the benefits it receives, not because of clever messaging.