We've been digesting the political implications of the Supreme Court's recent holding that President Obama's signature accomplishment is Constitutionally acceptable as a 'mandate tax' for several days. As I've argued, the decision itself stings for conservatives -- despite potential silver linings -- but that its resulting short term political benefits mostly accrue to Republicans:
In the short run, the Romney campaign took in $4.6 million online within the first 24 hours after the Obamacare decision. These funds came from more than 47,000 individual donors. To put that number in perspective, Romney attracted about 27,000 individual donors in the entire month of May -- when he trounced Obama in fundraising. 'We The People' are hugely energized up by the Court's clarifying decision, as many citizens are coming to grips with the reality that the only remaining way to squash Obamacare is to support Republicans, financially and electorally. A series of (sometimes unreliable) overnight polls from Survey USA show that the Court's verdict is unlikely to move public opinion in Obamacare's favor. Pluralities or majorities in California, Kansas and Florida -- Left, Right and center -- disagreed with the Court's decision, and still believe Obamacare will make their healthcare worse. By a large margin, Florida voters still say the law will make healthcare more expensive. So public opinion remains decisively negative on this law, a fact that will inflict a great deal of agita on elected Democrats in swing states. I also expect any potential Obamacare poll bounce to be fairly quickly negated by the coming avalanche of accurate, "Obamacare mandate tax on the middle class" rhetoric from GOP candidates, including Mitt Romney. Obamacare isn't liked. The mandate is despised. And taxes on the middle class -- which Obama falsely promised to block -- are anathema.
Yesterday, we examined a spate of recent polling with results so head-spiningly disparate that one feels impelled to pop an Advil or two. The only consisent data concerned the enduring unpopularity of Obamacare:
One area where much of the data is fairly stable is on Obamacare. Rasmussen continues to show the enduring double-digit majority in favor of repeal that they've consistently identified for two years running, and Newsweek's poll demonstrates that majorities of voters oppose the mandate tax, believe Obamacare will make healthcare more expensive, and say it will raise taxes. Less than one-fourth of voters say the Supreme Court's decision upholding the law will make America better off. A new poll from The Hill also indicates that voters are heavily predisposed to view Obamacare as a tax, 60 to 39 percent.
With those pieces in place, how will Obamacare affect the 2012 election -- particularly down-ballot from the top line contest? I discussed that very question with Megyn Kelly on Fox News yesterday afternoon:
A few brief follow-ups on this segment: Here is the article I mentioned regarding vulnerable Republicans and challengers to endangered Democrats pushing for additional repeal votes prior to November. The House has scheduled such a vote for next week. Will Mitch McConnell manage to overcome Harry Reid's historic obstructionism to force a vote in the Senate? On reconciliation, GOP leaders are already vowing to use the maneuver to dump Obamacare if they win a majority. Democrats have bellyached about this possibility in the past (which is ironic, considering that they used reconciliation themselves to pass the damn thing), but SCOTUS' ruling that Obamacare is a tax paves the way for Republicans to proceed as planned. Read Keith Hennessey's roadmap to get a sense of how the GOP might accomplish this task. Of course, it's all moot if they don't win in November. Finally, I wasn't exaggerating about swing state Democrats fleeing the scene on Obamacare. On last week's decision day, Sen. Claire McCaskill -- a decisive vote for the law -- was nowhere to be found as local media attempted to track her down:
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography