A new Reuters/Ipsos poll is the first to show a significant bump in the percentage of Americans in favor of ObamaCare since the Supreme Court upheld the president's biggest domestic achievement: Support among Republicans rose a modest 5 points, to a still-dismal 19 percent, but independents swung 11 points, now backing ObamaCare 38 percent to 62 percent opposed. Still, even in this hopeful poll for Obama, a majority of voters oppose the law, if by a narrower 52-48 percent split. And support for the individual parts of the law were mostly unchanged: The popular parts are still as popular, the individual mandate (or tax) is still as unpopular. Obama and the Democrats are divided on whether to talk up the newly validated law or move on to other topics. Can Obama still make his big legislative victory a political one, too?
This is Obama's shot at a do-over: Chief Justice John Roberts just gave "Obama the miraculous opportunity to get right what he screwed up" when ObamaCare passed, says Frank Rich at New York. This is "a fresh chance to explain to voters exactly what this bill is and what is good about it." Independents will already be moved by the "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval" from the Supreme Court, but Obama can seal the deal if he'll finally "seize the moment to make it absolutely clear" what Americans will gain from ObamaCare.
"Roberts gives Obama a second chance"
This ruling changes nothing, politically: "Liberals have persuaded themselves that this unpopularity is largely the product of conservative misinformation and voter ignorance," but it runs much deeper than that, says Ross Douthat in The New York Times. Republicans hate ObamaCare's government expansion, and independent voters still resent Obama for dropping the ball on the economy to push through the unwanted law. Roberts' "grudging imprimatur" won't help Obama change many hearts or minds.
"The price of health care"
Obama sees a popularity surge coming... in several years: The White House believes that the public will warm up to ObamaCare — just not before the 2012 elections, says Sarah Kliff at The Washington Post. Sure, Obama and other Democrats will talk a lot about the popular parts that Republicans would take away in their quest for repeal, but the law's "biggest benefits do not roll out until 2014" — the individual-policy subsidies, the end of denial of insurance for any reason — and that's when Team Obama thinks perceptions will finally shift their way.
"White House: Don't expect SCOTUS to give Obamacare a popularity boost"
The only thing changing is conservative ire: According to Gallup, Americans are evenly split on the Supreme Court ruling, but conservatives are a lot more passionate in their dislike, says Byron York at The Washington Examiner. And as the ruling sinks in, "conservatives are getting angrier, not calmer," about Roberts' betrayal. I don't see how that could help Obama, but it could boost Mitt Romney if he can "channel that intensity" by forcefully attacking the ruling and the law it saved.
"Conservative anger growing over ObamaCare decision"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- The real reason conservatives should be outraged that police killed a white youth
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- The world is on fire and neither Democrats or Republicans have a clue
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- After Ferguson, we don't need another dialogue on race
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
- Russia's new air force is a mystery
Subscribe to the Week