WATCH: Pregnant Obamacare Victim Urges Congress to Repeal and Replace Failing Law

Posted: Feb 23, 2017 10:30 AM
Liberals are once again gleefully circulating a new poll that shows falling support for Obamacare repeal, which proves three points: (1) Less-bad news can be viewed through rose-colored partisan glasses as good news. The law is still not popular by any means, however, with the latest survey showing its favorable rating cresting to, er, 45 percent. Plus, a 51 percent majority still supports dismantling or totally repealing Obamacare, with just 38 percent preferring keep the law as-is or expand it. Among that latter group, only 12 percent support the existing law as written.  That's abysmal.  (2) Status quo bias is a real thing, and Republicans must take polling volatility in stride. Obamacare is falling apart under the weight of its own incompetence and failures, and is consistently harming more people than it's helping.  People naturally get nervous over significant policy changes.  A key is to routinely remind them that things will continue to get worse absent major reforms.

(3) The GOP must be prepared to vigorously prosecute a case against the current law while touting their own detailed alternative. As we've explored previously, the key components of House Republicans' replacement plan poll quite well with the public -- as does "repeal and replace" generally. Once the private huddles and briefings are over, and the actual policy comes into focus (hopefully sooner than later), the messaging needs to be crisp, disciplined and confident.  Part of that messaging must include frequent showcasing of Obamacare's victims, of whom there are millions upon millions.  Defenders of the wheezing, dysfunctional law will highlight the people who've been helped by elements of the law, and who are fearful of what might come next.  Voters must be reminded that for every one of those people, there are more who've had the opposite experience, and their voices matter just as much -- especially since the law was fraudulently sold as a win/win for everyone.  On that score, this new ad from the American Action Network is excellent:

Other center-right groups committed to gutting Obamacare and fixing healthcare with better solutions should take heed of this approach as they prepare for the coming narrative battle.  And they should be budgeting generously for that fight; the Left's shrill, emotional demagoguery is going to be deafening.  An alternative, clarifying, empathetic perspective from the Right will be essential.  Here's another spot from a new group called 'One Nation:'

That same organization, which is linked to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, commissioned a poll of voters in states that will host battleground Senate races next year. As we've seen in other data, the new survey finds that just 17 percent favor a "repeal immediately" approach, with a plurality saying that repeal must only occur when a replacement plan is ready. Add those two numbers together, and there's a majority for repeal, but the timing and sequencing matters. There's also a worrying data point for Senate Democrats, who are promising to fight and block any GOP-offered alternative to the failing law, then blame Republicans for the resulting mess. In those competitive 2018 states, fully 66 percent of voters say they'd oppose a Democratic candidate who was obstructing replacement options.  Speaking of McConnell (and Paul Ryan, who has been laboring on Obamacare alternatives for years), take a gander at whose standing in the eyes of Republican voters has suddenly shot up since January.  As Amy Walter muses, it's funny how winning tends to fix things and make up for hard feelings.  Check out the red spike:

Leadership has its work cut out for it as this epic political fight looms on the horizon. Having the approval of the base is a crucial asset, especially if President Trump will use his bully pulpit against potential naysayers within the GOP caucus. Pulling apart and supplanting an enormous piece of legislation is very difficult political work.Republican disunity would guarantee Obamacare's survival.