The GOP and Obamacare: when the best way to do something is doing NOTHING

Americans DON’T like Obamacare. The most recent NBC News/Wall St. Journal survey shows that only 37% think it is a good idea while 47% think it’s a bad idea (or -10%).*

While Americans don’t like Obamacare, their dislike for the GOP is even stronger. The same NBC News/Wall St. Journal survey showed the Republican Party at -31% (positive – negative). Just to put the GOP pain in perspective, the Democratic party is only marginally under water at minus three percent.

In fact, dislike for the GOP is so strong, that when Republicans were front-and-center during the government shutdown debate, opposition to the GOP strengthened while opposition to OBAMACARE ACTUALLY TEMPERED.

But, now that the shutdown is in the rear-view mirror, and Obama-anger over Obamacare is again front and center, voter dissatisfaction with the health care plan is bouncing back.

Pre-Shutdown Sept. 5-8 Amidst Shutdown Oct. 7-9 Post Shutdown Oct. 25-28
GOP image (positive – negative) -16% -29% -31%
Obamacare (good idea – bad idea) -13% -5% -10%

These two issues are linked at the hip: If you think Obamacare is a good idea, you LOVE the Democratic Party (+55%) and HATE the GOP (-69% negative).

This all leads us to five takeaway points.

One. President Obama and the Democrats OWN Obamacare.

Two. After four years of spin and a national election, the President has been unable to move the needle and sell his brand of health care. Now that it is moving from legislation to reality, attitudes toward Obamacare will likely only get worse.

Three. The only way the President can bump up support of Obamacare is by luring an unpopular GOP into a fight in which Republicans are sure to get the partisan short end of the stick.

Four. The president and his allies in the Senate will take every opportunity to tempt the GOP into Republicans-versus-Obamacare fights between now and Election Day. And, they will win most of them. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=055wFyO6gag

Five. Republicans stand a better chance of profiting – today and Election Day – by standing down as anger with Obamacare rises, runs its course, and nets votes on Election Day. Or as my dad used to say: silence is golden; shut up and get rich.

* The poll was conducted jointly by Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research Associates; however, this analysis was written independently of NBC/WSJ and of Hart Research Associates.