Health care reform’s popularity gets another boost

HEALTH CARE REFORM’S POPULARITY GETS ANOTHER BOOST…. Last week, a national Associated Press-GfK poll found that support for the Affordable Care Act was not only the rise, but had reached new heights — health care reform’s supporters outnumbered opponents, 45% to 42%.

Now, we have another poll with similar results. A new Gallup poll shows support inching up, with supporters topping opponents — 49% of respondents said passage of the law is a “good thing,” while 46% said it’s a “bad thing.” That’s a modest shift in the right direction from a few months, but it’s a shift nevertheless.

Of particular interest, though, were the breakdowns by age group.

On the basis of age, the largest well of opposition is found among seniors, 60% of whom call passage of the bill a bad thing, similar to the 57% in April. By contrast, attitudes are more favorable than unfavorable among young and middle-aged adults.

The Affordable Care Act is quite popular among Americans aged 18 to 29, with 57% believing the new law is a good thing. Among those 30 to 49 and those 50 to 64, support isn’t quite as strong, but supporters clearly outnumber opponents in both age groups, and the favorable attitudes have increased since April.

It’s the older folks who aren’t happy — opposition is nearly 2-to-1, and it’s the only age group where opposition has gone up, not down, since April.

This tell us a couple of interesting things. The first is that right-wing efforts to scare the elderly — the constituency that’s generally skeptical of Obama anyway — have been largely successful. Seniors love their government-run socialized medicine, and they’re worried about Democrats finding cost-savings in unnecessary Medicare spending. The second is that those who are likely to be affected most by the new law are those most likely to approve of it.

Regardless, in the bigger picture, one of the keys to the Republican midterm strategy is predicated on the notion that Americans just hate the Affordable Care Act. Indeed, just this morning, House Minority Leader John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) office insisted, without evidence, that “the American people remain squarely opposed” to health care reform, and recognize “the rising public backlash against the new law.”

Boehner may want to consider updating those talking points; they’re both stale and wrong.