Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Health Care reform getting more popular

President Obama is getting flak from the right (he's a socialist!) and the left (he's a tool of Wall Street and the insurance companies!), but both tendencies have him wrong; he's really a center-left pragmatist. It's hard for right-wingers and left-wingers to believe that he's essentially non-ideological. The New Republic's Jonathan Chait is particularly good on health care reform and reconciliation.

Health Care Reform Getting More Popular

Jonathan Chait
March 9, 2010

The Economist has a new poll out showing a majority (53-47) support for President Obama's health care plan.

This is very big news. Now, that is the only poll right now showing majority support for Obama's plan. But, as Democracy Corps notes, it's clearly part of an overall trend...

As I've been arguing for a while, there is clearly room for support to grow further. That has been clear for a while. Strong majorities of the public favor some kind of comprehensive reform, and a large chunk of the opposition to the Democratic plans has come from the left. As Democracy Corps points out:

While the uptick in support is certainly encouraging to supporters of reform, almost all of these surveys still show at least pluralities in opposition to the current reform measure being debated. However, when Ipsos probed further, they showed a surprising result. Of the 47 percent who oppose reform, 37 percent do so because reform does not go far enough (meanwhile, of the 41 percent who say they support the current proposals, 12 percent say they do so because they think the current proposals will stop reform from happening). Combining these results shows a majority---53 percent---that supports reform or something that goes further. Yet just 35 percent want to kill reform because it goes too far.

This data is further amplified by other recent surveys showing that a wide majority continues to demand health care reform, and has no interest in Congress or the president giving up on the effort. Back in mid-February, ABC/Washington Post asked whether lawmakers in Washington should keep trying to pass a comprehensive health care reform plan or give up on it. They found that, by a two-to-one margin, Americans want Congress to push forward on passing an overarching reform bill (63 percent to 34 percent). Furthermore, Pew Research had similar findings---61 percent of all Americans either support the current reform proposals or want Congress to keep working toward a solution to achieve reform.

Why is support rising? My guess is that it's related to Obama's emergence as the primary advocate of reform. For months, the message was mired in Congressional sloppiness and deal-making. Obama is far more popular than Congress, and he commands a stronger platform to communicate the virtues of reform. The best way to win the battle for public opinion is to pass the bill. Then you get a signing ceremony, media coverage of how the legislation will work (the details are popular) rather than the grimy lawmaking process, and a chance to unify support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who have felt the bill doesn't go far enough.


Parking in SF: Predator and prey

From C.W. Nevius's column this morning:

"Last week, East Bay resident Bruce Marks took his wife to dinner in North Beach. What he failed to notice was that after a certain hour parking was restricted. When he came back after dinner, the car was gone. In all, it cost Marks $375 to redeem his car and another $75 for the ticket. Think he'll be back to the city to eat any time soon?"

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