Michael Barone

"The Affordable Care Act's political position has deteriorated dramatically over the last week." That, coming from longtime Obamacare cheerleader and Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein, was pretty strong language. And it was only Wednesday.

That was the day after the release of a devastating Quinnipiac national poll. It showed Barack Obama's approval rating at 39 percent, with his disapproval rating at 54 percent -- sharply down from 45 percent approval and 49 percent disapproval on Oct. 1, the day the government shutdown began and healthcare.gov went into (limited) operation.

Democrats hoped that Republicans would take a shellacking in public opinion for the Oct. 1-16 government shutdown. They did, briefly. But Quinnipiac's survey, conducted three weeks after the shutdown ended, indicated that the Obamacare rollout inflicted much more damage on the Democratic brand -- and the party's leader.

Quinnipiac's numbers on Obamacare were also exactly the same as their numbers on Obama: 49 percent favored the health care legislation, 55 percent were opposed. Moreover, a near-majority -- 46 percent -- said the president knowingly deceived them when he assured Americans over and over that they could keep their health insurance plans.

There are few names a president can be called that are more damaging than liar.

The numbers are particularly daunting when you look at the groups that Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg identifies as major parts of "the big cultural and demographic wave that threatens to swamp the Republican party" -- young voters and Hispanics.

Obama carried voters under 30 by 66 percent to 32 percent in 2008 and 60 percent to 37 percent in 2010. He carried older voters by 1 point in the first election and lost them to Mitt Romney in the second.

Obama did even better with Hispanics: 67 percent to 31 percent in 2008 and 71 percent to 27 percent in 2012. This was one of the few demographic groups among which he ran stronger than four years earlier.

But that was then, and this is now. Quinnipiac shows young voters disapproving of Obama 54 percent to 36 percent and Hispanics disapproving 47 percent to 41 percent.

Both groups rate him negatively on the economy, the federal budget, immigration, foreign policy and health care. Bare majorities, 51 percent of both groups, say Obama cares about people like them.

Obamacare, popular among both groups in 2012, is now an Obama albatross. Young voters oppose it 51 percent to 42 percent and Hispanics 50 percent to 44 percent. Majorities of both groups give Obama negative ratings on health care.


Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM