Success begets success

SUCCESS BEGETS SUCCESS…. Lately, the basis for Republican opposition to health care reform has been public opinion polls. Americans didn’t like the Democratic proposal, the GOP argument goes, so it deserved to be defeated. Public attitudes on the plan have underscored every Republican argument for weeks.

And in response, proponents of health care reform have been repeating the same prediction: it will get more popular after it passes.

Reader M.B. let me know about a new national poll that suggests proponents were on to something.

Americans by 9 percentage points have a favorable view of the health care overhaul that President Obama signed into law Tuesday, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, a notable turnaround from surveys before the vote that showed a plurality against it.

By 49%-40% those surveyed say it was “a good thing” rather than a bad one that Congress passed the bill. Half describe their reaction in positive terms, as “enthusiastic” or “pleased,” while about four in 10 describe it in negative ways, as “disappointed” or “angry.”

The largest single group, 48%, calls the bill “a good first step” that should be followed by more action on health care. An additional 4% also have a favorable view, saying the bill makes the most important changes needed in the nation’s health care system.

If Republicans were right, these results would be impossible. Democrats are “ramming through” a proposal that the country hates? Americans will be outraged.

But they’re not. In fact, most Americans are apparently pretty pleased with the outcome — and that’s after just one day after the House vote. As more of the country learns that GOP scare tactics were baseless, and hears about the new benefits that kick in this year, the polls will likely improve further.

Making matters slightly worse for Republicans, the same poll found that 46% of Americans believe President Obama’s handling of the health care issue has been excellent or good. For the congressional GOP, it’s 26%.

This is the Republican nightmare coming to fruition — the country gets a better system, Democrats get a victory, the president looks like a hero, and the country is pleased with the results.

It’s not too late for Republicans to reconsider that “repeal” strategy, if only the party’s unhinged base would let them.