When asked about Obama’s plan (without being given any details about what the legislation includes), 49 percent opposed it and 40 percent were in favor. But after hearing key features of the legislation described, 48 percent supported the plan and 43 percent remained opposed.
The NEWSWEEK Poll asked respondents about eight health-care-reform provisions that Obama and many Democrats in Congress have generally supported. It found that the majority of Americans supported five of those provisions, three by particularly large margins. Eighty-one percent agreed with the creation of a new insurance marketplace, the exchange, for individual subscribers to compare plans and buy insurance at a competitive rate. Seventy-six percent thought health insurers should be required to cover anyone who applies, including those with preexisting conditions; and 75 percent agreed with requiring most businesses to offer health insurance to their employees, with incentives for small-business owners to do so.
It’s clearly not the details of the plan that’s the problem if, when people hear about it, they like it. Hell, 70% of the American people liked the public option. But the White House, for whatever reason, refused to do anything to push for its passage. And now, large majorities like many of the major details in the remaining Senate and House plans. So what’s the problem?
The same problem that leads only 6% of the American people to believe that the stimulus created any jobs (it did, according to CBO and every other authoritative study). Messaging, messaging, messaging.
And no, it’s not excuse to say the Republicans are so gosh-darn mean. They’ve been that way for a while. They’ve been liars for a while. They’ve been willing to shut down meetings for a while, just for show – remember the Florida electoral folks trying to count the dangling chads when the astro-turf GOP mob shut it down for the cameras? As for mean and nasty, does anyone remember Newt Gingrich in the 90s?
The only thing that’s changed this time around is that, for some reason, Democrats in the White House and the Hill have lost their ability, or willingness, to fight back. And they’d better recognize that soon, and fix it. There’s no one else to blame but yourselves.
I’ll be on CNN tomorrow morning, on Howie Kurtz’s show, about 11:40 am Eastern saying the exact same thing.