The Democrats' new healthcare slogan, "Make America Sick Again," is a clunker with a majority of voters, according to fresh data from a Republican pollster.
The national survey, conducted for a GOP political group, asked 1,000 likely voters if they agree that, "If Republicans repeal the Affordable Care Act, it will make America sick again." Overall, only 32.1 percent of voters agreed, including, at 57.1 percent, a majority of Democrats; 64.8 percent of Independents disagreed, as did 85.9 percent of Republicans.
"Nearly 70 percent of respondents support repeal of ACA with a realistic modest transition period and letting people keep their coverage while they wait for the new law to be in place," read the polling memo prepared for American Action Network, a political nonprofit organization aligned with House Republican leaders. Even Democrats support this by a [48 percent to 43 percent] margin. Additionally, respondents disagree with the Democratic claim that if Republicans repeal ACA that it will make America sick again."
The poll was conducted Jan. 3-5 by Greg Strimple and Brooks Kochbar of GS Strategy Group. The self-identified political affiliation of the respondents broke down as 36.4 percent Democrat; 34.5 percent Republican; 24.2 percent independent. The margin of error was 3.1 percentage points. American Action Network offered the Washington Examiner a sneak peek at the new survey.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., coined the slogan "Make America Sick Again" as part of their messaging campaign against the Republicans' plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. It's a play on President-elect Trump's campaign slogan: "Make America Great Again." Trump has promised to sign repeal legislation that is coupled with an alternative to the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's signature healthcare overhaul law.
Partisan polls can offer a distorted view of voter sentiment. The questions, and the wording of the questions, can be designed to produce a desired outcome. So it's possible that a Democratic poll could reveal competing concerns and reaction to the Republicans' plans for junking Obamacare and replacing it with something new.
Here are some of the survey's findings:
- 54.1 percent favor complete repeal or major changes to Obamacare, including 61.6 percent of Independents and 17.6 percent of Democrats. The closest margins for repeal/major changes versus minor tweaks or doing nothing are among women and Millennials, who favor repeal by 1.7 points and 1.4 points, respectively.
- At 44.4 percent, the No. 1 reason respondents gave for opposing Obamacare was that it is too expensive or that it has increased the cost of health care. At 21.8 percent, cost was the No. 1 concern respondents had about the law. The federal mandate for purchasing insurance is the No. 2 concern, at 16.4 percent.
Despite Obamacare's continued unpopularity, Democrats might be encouraged by some of the poll's findings heading into the battle in Congress over repeal of the law. Among them:
- Support for repeal and replace is based on there being a "realistic, modest transition period to get the new system up and running, letting people keep their coverage while they wait for the new law to be in place." In other words, as long as Republicans avoid the disruptions that accompanied the implementation of Obamacare, voters would support it by a margin of 68.9 percent to 25.2 percent.
- Support for some of the core components of the Affordable Care Act, including prohibitions against refusing coverage based on a pre-existing medical condition and allowing parents to keep their children on their insurance until they reach age 26. Those policies are supported by 92.2 percent and 78.8 percent of respondents overall.