Every so often I get something right, and it looks like I may have here. Right after the Court's health-care ruling, I wrote that I bet that voters (and swing voters in particular) would soften their views on the law. Today's Washington Post poll appears to confirm this hunch:
Americans split evenly on the Supreme Court’s recent 5 to 4 decision upholding Obama’s health-care law, with 42 percent approving of the decision and 44 percent opposing it. But in a significant change, the legislation is now viewed less negatively than it was before the ruling. In the new survey, 47 percent support the law and 47 percent oppose it. In April, 39 percent backed it and 53 percent opposed it.
This clearly indicates a softening on the law. I say "appears" above because I don't know how much of that movement is among independents, but presumably it ain't among conservatives, that's for sure, and it's probably only marginally among liberals.
The problem is likely to be that no public polls will have a large enough sample size of swing voters to be truly reliable. But this poll definitely suggests that the Republican strategy--holding this repeal vote tomorrow, Romney still carrying on about repeal on day one--is increasingly going to become a base-only strategy and risks turning off swing voters. In other words, they're going to start sounding like whiners who are stuck in the past.
Of course, as usual, I hasten to note that for this to happen, Democrats have to stand behind the damn thing and not be afraid of defending it. All they have to say now, at a minimum, and this ought to be really easy, is: Republicans want people with illnesses to lose guaranteed coverage, and people will die. That's all. If they can somehow manage to say that over and over and over, people will start to associate this idea with the law more than a mandate or tax, and this is a popular and likeable idea.
The law can actually be a net positive by October. How about it, D's? Have some imagination here! Envision it. I have this theory of elections called the backyard fence theory, which probably isn't original, but which goes: what's important, what determines who'll win, is what the average American is saying to his/her neighbor across the backyard fence the day before the election.
"Well, I don't know, Obama's a nice guy, but he hasn't done enough on jobs."
"I know. Romney seems competent, but he's...kinda icky."
"He is. But Obama can't get the Republicans to do anything, so we'll just be stuck if he's reelected."
"But Romney would take health insurance away from sick people. I don't agree with everything in that bill, but I sure don't wanna see that."
These are Obama's fence points: Romney is a rich jerk; he favors the rich; he'd deny insurance to sick people; and, importantly, he's not his own man.