Mandate: 68 Percent of Americans Expect Trump to Repeal Obamacare

Posted: Dec 15, 2016 1:15 PM

The numbers in the new Fox poll that Leah mentioned this morning contain some interesting nuggets: Trump's favorables have improved as his unfavorables have fallen -- but he's still underwater on that measure. Same deal with the 'presidential temperament' question; his marks are significantly better than their pre-election lows, but still not good by any stretch. With that said, a majority of Americans say they feel "hopeful" (59 percent) or "relieved" (50 percent) by the election results, with fewer declaring themselves "embarrassed" (45 percent), "scared" (41 percent), "angry" (37 percent), or "depressed" (30 percent).  That hopefulness is a political opening for the new administration.  Also, a majority also believes that history will judge Trump as an average president or better, with less than a third saying "one of the worst."  In other words, a lot of people who didn't vote for him are at least willing to give him a shot and not pre-judge his tenure as a failure.

On priorities and goals, significant majorities do not believe Trump will follow through on many of his campaign promises, from building a border wall to defeating ISIS. Two areas where voters do expect results, however, are on restructuring trade deals and repealing Obamacare. Fully 68 percent of respondents expect him to uproot President Obama's failing healthcare law, with a plurality saying they'd support him in that effort. He isn't 'above water,' on any other specific issue polled, which underscores the unpopularity of the law. Even when you factor in attaching the effort to Trump's unpopular political brand and account for this survey's D+8 sample (the 2016 electorate was D+3), most respondents still endorse a Trump-led repeal and replace push.

That's because the law is violating its core promises, and making healthcare less affordable -- with fewer choices -- for millions. It has consistently harmed more people than it's helped.  Its opponents were right all along.  Republicans have a clear and tested road to repeal many major elements of the law, having done so through reconciliation last year (only to run into an Obama veto). They can replicate that task again in 2017, this time with a president ready to sign the package into law. But other parts of the dismantlement process must be done through regular order, and thus subject to the filibuster, as would most of the "replace" step; Democrats are already signaling that they won't play ball -- even if that means leaving millions of consumers without coverage. Their hope will be to blame Republicans for any pain people experience. To stave off said blame, the GOP must unify around a replacement plan, plus a timeframe for implementation, while adhering to stick to simple and disciplined messaging.  That may prove challenging, as the anti-Obamacare Right is already splintering over which chess moves to make, and when.  Top Democrats are clearly paying attention, too.  Regardless of how various specifics shake out, one key component of the Republican message must be to relentlessly highlight the law's failings, and to remind voters that under the Democrat-inflicted status quo, things will only get worse, based on the administration's own data:

Ryan's memo focuses on five points: Skyrocketing premiums, soaring deductibles, collapsing markets, fewer choices, and broken promises. None of those damaging developments are going to improve under Democrats' current, broken system. By the way, whenever critics note the inexorably rising costs of the so-called "Affordable" Care Act, defenders retort that some (disputed) significant percentage of consumers who'd get slapped with sticker shock are eligible for subsidies. What they never mention is that those subsidies don't grow on trees; they're paid for by hardworking taxpayers, and they're getting more expensive:

I'll leave you with our discussion from last night's Special Report panel about the Fox News polling referenced above: