ABOUT THAT HEALTH CARE REPEAL PUSH…. Congressional Republicans apparently thought it’d be a straightforward exercise: tell angry voters that if they elect GOP candidates, the Republican majority will repeal the Affordable Care Act. The plan was not without flaw, as evidenced by Democrats daring the GOP to pursue this.

Regardless, in order for the pitch to work, Republicans need voters to actually want to see health care reform repealed. As the AP notes today, the public is still divided on the merit of the new law, but Americans “aren’t clamoring for its repeal.”

Instead, the public seems willing to listen to candidates who would give the overhaul a chance and fix or improve it as needed. That’s the signal from some surveys and a congressional race in a bellwether Pennsylvania district. It’s a pragmatic, somewhat counterintuitive outlook.

That could be a break for Democrats in the fall elections, since Republicans are campaigning hard for repeal of the health care law.

“Though most Americans still do not favor the law, they tend to be leaning toward candidates who would give it a chance and make some changes, rather than those who would repeal it and start over again,” said Robert Blendon, a Harvard public health school professor who follows opinion trends on health care.

A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that the law is far from popular. But when respondents were asked if they’d back a candidate who supported repeal or a candidate willing to give it a chance, the latter had a 13-point advantage over the former. Among self-identified independents, it was a 17-point advantage.

What’s more, a new 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll found that a plurality of Americans would prefer to see the new health care law be left intact, rather than face a full repeal, as Republicans demand.

This obviously puts a crimp in the GOP election strategy, especially since House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) has called repealing the law the GOP’s “number one priority.”

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.