Health care reform’s popularity grows

HEALTH CARE REFORM’S POPULARITY GROWS…. One of the keys to the Republican midterm strategy is hammering away at an unpopular health care reform package signed into law in March. Of course, the plan — which includes GOP demands for a repeal of the entire law — only works if the Affordable Care Act is, in fact, unpopular.

There’s at least some evidence, however, that public attitudes are changing.

The patient is alive and kicking. A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds public support for President Barack Obama’s new health care law has risen to its highest point.

The nation remains divided, with 45 percent in favor and 42 percent opposed to the president’s signature domestic accomplishment.

Still, the shift in public sentiment was significant. Opposition to the overhaul increased after Congress passed it in March. And last month, supporters were outnumbered 39 percent to 46 percent. But the latest survey found the strongest backing for the health care plan since the AP-GfK poll began asking in September.

The AP found some of the largest gains among men (support jumped 10 points, to 46%) and 30-49 year-olds (support jumped 14 points to 49%). Even among self-indentified Republicans, support for the new law doubled — from 8% to 17% — though clearly GOP voters are a long way from liking the ACA.

Also note, despite skepticism about the law, the same poll found that the public trusts Democrats on the issue over Republicans, 51% to 38%,

It’s worth emphasizing that all of the usual caveats apply. This is, after all, just one poll — and of all the recent polling on health care reform, this AP survey is the only one that shows supporters outnumbering opponents. We’d need to see several other polls with similar results before we can start drawing conclusions about a positive trend.

That said, the AP data offers some political encouragement to Dems, and should give the GOP pause.