Jay Bookman

Opinion columnist and blogger with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, specializing in foreign relations, environmental and technology-related issues

ObamaCare continues to win over new supporters

According to a new Bloomberg poll, 35 percent of Americans want ObamaCare repealed, 12 percent says it's fine as it is and 51 percent say that while the law may need small modifications, it should remain in place and adjusted as needed. That's a total of 63 percent who say the law is fine or should be preserved with small changes.

The problem for Republicans is that the overwhelming majority of the 35 percent that supports repeal are members of their party's vocal base. GOP candidates have little choice but to try to placate that group -- especially if those candidates happen to be running for president -- but by placating the base you run afoul of a significant majority of the general population that does not want the law repealed.

A Kaiser Family Foundation poll released this morning reports a similar finding: For the first time in several years, the number of those with a favorable view of ObamaCare is larger than those who view it unfavorably:

As Kaiser points out, the margin is very small -- one percentage point, and well within the tracking poll's margin of error of 3 percentage points. But the trend is unmistakable. The popularity of the law took a significant blow with the initial problems with health exchanges, but since July of last year its standing has improved noticeably.  In the last nine months, the percentage of those viewing the law unfavorably has dropped by 11 percentage points.

But again, the Republican base just hates it. Only 16 percent of those who identify as Republicans are willing to say that they favor the program. When asked whether the program is costing the government more or less than originally expected -- according to the CBO, the correct answer is significantly less -- only 1 percent of Republicans got the right answer.

According to Kaiser, just 29 percent of Americans -- but 58 percent of Republicans -- want the law repealed outright. So that's the position that Republicans are forced to embrace.

And finally, the most important numbers of all:

It's also worth noting that none of the dire calamities that Republicans predicted after passage of ObamaCare have proved valid. The deficit is declining, overall health-care costs are much lower than projected, millions of Americans now have health coverage and the economy continues is improving at a much more rapid pace than in most of the rest of the world.

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About the Author

Jay Bookman writes about government and politics, with an occasional foray into other aspects of life as time, space and opportunity allow.