Medicaid Expansion: Not a Popular Issue Just Yet

Via Greg Sargent, the new CNN/ORC poll out today suggests the intense partisan polarization on the individual mandate issue has not extended to the post-decision hot spot of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. Greg notes that self-identified Republicans support the Court’s Medicaid opt-out ruling by a narrow margin, and barely more than the general public. Looking at the full poll, it appears respondents either don’t understand the issue at all, or haven’t gotten their partisan cues just yet: Democrats support the right to opt out of the expansion more than Republicans, and Tea Party opponents support it more than Tea Party supporters.

The Medicaid question in the poll is poorly worded, IMO (it’s convoluted, and unlike the individual mandate question, is put in terms of support for and opposition to the Court’s decision rather than ACA), and if the findings are accurate, we really need to rethink how Americans feel about health care and all sorts of related issues (do 47% of non-white folk really support the right of states to opt-out of the Medicaid expansion?).

But it does suggest that Republican governors coming out against implementation of the Medicaid expansion are a bit ahead of public opinion, even amongst “the base.” We’ll see how and how quickly that changes.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.