I didn’t get a chance to comment on this yesterday, but a Pew poll found that nearly one in four Americans support the Republican Party’s efforts to defund and sabotage Obamacare. From Pew:
The 53% of the public who disapprove of the law are divided over what they would like elected officials who oppose the law to do now that the law has begun to take effect. About half of disapprovers (27% of the public overall) say these lawmakers “should do what they can to make the law work as well as possible,” but nearly as many (23% of the public) say these officials “should do what they can to make the law fail.”
There are two ways to look at this.
There you have it. Fewer than one in four Americans supports efforts to try to make the law fail. Fewer than half of Republicans back such efforts; support for them is largely driven by Tea Party Republicans.
Yet it is this small minority that is largely shaping the contours of the GOP posture heading into this fall’s fiscal fights.
This is entirely correct. Obamacare is the law of the land and GOP sabotage efforts are ridiculous. Most Americans either support the law or want to find a way to make it work. The Republican party is instead held captive by its small, but vocal and powerful Tea Party base.
The second way to look it is this is the following: although Obamacare survived a Supreme Court challenge and a presidential election, nearly a quarter of Americans still want the opposing party not just to repeal it but to actively “do what they can to make the law fail.” That seems like a very high percent to me. I could understand a large number of Republicans would like their elected officials to find a way to repeal it. But this question asked Republicans if those elected officials should try to make the law fail. To be fair, there wasn’t an answer that “Republicans should do everything they can to repeal it, but should not actively undermine it.” I would image some of the 23% would fall under that category. But still, a quarter of the country wants the GOP to actively attempt to make Obamacare fail by whatever means necessary. That’s incredible.
I would still like some more context for this. For instance, does a quarter of the country want Republicans to undermine Dodd-Frank? Did Democrats want their elected officials to undermine Medicare Part B during the Bush Administration? I don’t know if there’s much polling on this to provide context, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this “do whatever you can to make the law fail” opposition is new in American politics.
Now, Republicans still aren’t supporting the position of the majority of Americans, as Sargent notes. But if Republicans (the Tea Party) really do want their party to undermine the law like no constituents have wanted their party to do ever before, that would underscore how intense the opposition to Obamacare is. It doesn’t justify the GOP’s desperate attempts to defund the law, but it does help to explain them.