Mixed Results For Obama In Hill Poll

A poll from The Hill has mixed news for Barack Obama. The good news is that, “A plurality of likely voters think President Obama and congressional Democrats will be more effective in reducing unemployment than congressional Republicans.” The bad news is, “Nearly half of likely voters believe it would be a good thing if the Supreme Court struck down his signature healthcare reform law.”

Pushing the individual mandate shows how inept the Democratic Party is and how out of touch much of the left is with regards to understanding the underlying nature of Americans to oppose being told what to do by government. Health care reform was necessary, but there are ways around the free rider problem based upon incentives and disincentives (such as some discussed here) which would receive greater acceptance.

Democrats have received support, especially from the young, due to an objection to the increased intrusion in the private lives of individuals under Republicans. Many of the same people who object to government intruding upon reproductive rights are also going to object to government telling them they have to buy health insurance. On the other hand, they might appreciate the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and would voluntarily take advantage of it, especially if it was set up with penalties to prevent the free-rider problem.

Many young, independent voters supported Obama in 2008 because his opposition to the individual mandate represented a key difference between Obama and Clinton. Obama risks losing these same voters because of failing to support the same viewpoint once in office:

Surprisingly, more 18-to-39-year-old voters than not thought a Supreme Court reversal of the law would be positive — 43 percent to 40 percent, although that finding was within the poll’s margin of error.

The finding was particularly conspicuous given Obama’s tendency to draw heavy support from younger voters. The impact of the 2010 healthcare law should also have been more immediately felt by younger people, as its requirement that healthcare providers allow people up to age 26 to stay on a parent’s insurance is already in effect.

It is not really surprising at all that there would be such strong opposition to the mandate, regardless of the fact that fewer young Americans are now uninsured due to the Affordable Care Act. Republicans understood the politics of the issue better, despite the fact that mandates are actually an old Republican idea which they only recently abandoned in order to use the issue against Obama.