Obamacare Takes a Hit, but Not a Big One

| Tue Nov. 19, 2013 11:19 AM EST

For a long time, the tsunami of bad news surrounding the launch of the Obamacare website didn't seem to take much of a toll on public opinion. But several polls this week suggest that both Obama and Obamacare have finally taken hits. Obama's approval ratings are down, as is support for Obamacare. But not that much. The chart on the right, from today's Washington Post poll, is a little messy looking, but it shows that although support has gone down, there's been only modest movement. It's now about where it was two years ago and two months ago. (And even this tells us little, since, as usual, it fails to distinguish between people who really oppose the law and those who only "oppose" the law because they want it to go further than it does.)

In other poll news, for the fifth year in a row virtually no one thinks President Obama is too conservative. Only 9 percent of the country would prefer a more liberal president. This is up a whopping two points from early 2010, a year after Obama was inaugurated. This is the fundamental problem for American progressives: the country just doesn't support a more robust progressive movement than we have now. Until we change that, fantasies of expanding Social Security and electing Elizabeth Warren are going to remain just that.