Chart of the Day: An Awful Lot of People Think Obamacare is Hurting Them


Kaiser has released its monthly tracking poll on Obamacare, and there’s really no way to put lip gloss on this pig. Public perception of the law has been worsening for the past nine months, and it gapped out sharply after the rollout debacle in October. There’s now a 16-point delta between unfavorable and favorable views of the law, 50-34 percent. With the exception of one or two monthly anomalies that are probably polling artifacts, this is by far the worst it’s been since the law was passed.

You can see the effect this has in the chart on the right: 27 percent now say that Obamacare has “negatively affected” someone in their family. That’s crazy. Even if you subtract the baseline of 18-19 percent who have been saying this all along, that’s an increase of nearly ten points over the course of 2013. Unless you take an absurdly expansive view of “affected,” this is all but impossible. Obamacare simply doesn’t have that kind of reach.

But we’ve been though a recent period in which every co-pay increase, every premium increase, and every narrowing of benefits has been blamed on Obamacare. These things have happened every year like clockwork for the past couple of decades, but this year it was convenient to blame them on Obamacare. Combine that with the PR disaster from the website rollout, and a whole lot of people now believe that Obamacare is hurting them.

Unfortunately, this is fertile ground for Republicans. If they really have the discipline to avoid shooting themselves in the foot this year over idiotic confrontations with the president, running their midterm campaign solely on opposition to Obamacare might be a winner.

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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