While we are on the subject of the infuriating status of Obamacare implementation, and the refusal of congressional Republicans to allow any legislation “fixing” eminently fixable problems like the limitation of health insurance subsidies to people with incomes over the federal poverty line, let’s acknowledge we’ve been led to believe the public has the obstructionists’ backs. That’s because of ledes like this from CNN:

A majority of Americans still oppose the nation’s new health care measure, three years after it became law, according to a new survey.

I shouldn’t pick on CNN, though. At least they got it right in the second graph and asked the obvious follow-up questions in a poll:

[A] CNN/ORC International poll released Monday also indicates that more than a quarter of those who oppose the law, known by many as Obamacare, say they don’t support the measure because it doesn’t go far enough.

It would be nice to know if the 16% of the public professing opposition to Obamacare because it “isn’t liberal enough” would prefer to blow up Obamacare and start over or build on it to get where they want to go (presumably some form of a single-payer system). But Digby’s right about their basic orientation:

[I]t’s highly doubtful that the 16% who think the plan isn’t liberal enough would join with the Republicans to deny medicaid funding or refuse to create the exchanges or any of the other tactics that are being used to make implementation impossible. Those liberals are all for medicaid funding and undoubtedly would oppose any repeal of the significant advances in the plan short of a public consensus to switch to a single payer plan.

So, it would be nice if the media were clear on this. This is obviously a center-left country when it comes to health care reform and it’s only the third of the population that hates everything the government does who is unhappy. As they always are.

This isn’t a minor, technical nuance in an occasional story, folks. It’s happened over and over and over and over. Let’s at least progress to the point where it’s reported the American people are “split,” instead of this constant nonsense suggesting that large and stable majorities support the GOP position of leaving everyone to their own devices.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

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.