Critical Condition

NRO’s health-care blog.

Independents Demand Repeal


Once of the most overlooked aspects of the health-care debate has been the degree to which the Obama administration has utterly failed to win political independents over to its notion of health-care “reform.”

By insisting on “comprehensive” health-care legislation and ramming it through without a single Republican vote, rather than following the customary legislative process of advancing more targeted legislation and passing it through a process of negotiation and compromise, President Obama and the Democratic Congress managed to produce a health-care law that Americans in the center of the political spectrum dislike even more than most Americans do. And by overwhelming margins, these political centrists now want that law to be repealed.

Over the past five weeks, independents have favored the repeal of Obamacare by an average margin of 64 to 31 percent, according to Rasmussen’s poll. That 33-point margin is 10 points greater even than the 23-point margin in favor of repeal among voters as a whole (59 to 36 percent). Among independents who feel “strongly,” the margin is 50 to 22 percent. When half of all independents “strongly” favor anything, they are likely to get it — or somebody is likely to get it — especially when fewer than a quarter of them strongly oppose it.

Not only do independents favor repeal by a margin of better than 2-to-1 over a five-week span, but younger voters favor repeal as well — also by a greater margin than voters as a whole. Over the past five weeks, voters under age 30 have favored repeal by an average margin of 60 to 35 percent, with voters in their 30s favoring repeal by 64 to 32 percent.

Why focus just on Rasmussen? Because not only does that poll solely target likely voters and ask the question in a straightforward way (“Do you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose a proposal to repeal the health-care bill?”), but — to the best of my knowledge — no other poll in the past five weeks has asked Americans whether they want repeal or not. lists five polls over that span that have asked about Obamacare (with all of them showing that Americans dislike it), but Rasmussen is the only one that has explicitly asked about repeal.

The long and short of this is that the Democrats are walking into an electoral buzzsaw. Furthermore, such polling should give Republicans the courage to advance a one-sentence repeal bill. Sure, Obamacare can’t be sent packing until the voters have first sent its namesake packing (which would require the Republicans to put forward a charismatic and articulate candidate), but such a proposal would initiate the repeal process.

By advancing such a one-sentence bill, the GOP would show that it’s serious about repeal, and independents would likely reward those members (of either party) who share this seriousness about getting rid of the legislative abomination of our time — while punishing those who don’t.


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