We learned a great deal about health care reform in the survey we conducted together with Resurgent Republic for NPR. Above all, Democrats can feel very comfortable talking about it and engaging the Republicans and outside Super PACs with confidence that they will win.
This issue is dynamic. It went from a loser for Democrats to one where it is essentially tied on most measures nationally. Most of the debates in this poll on the basic idea of reform and taxes have achieved parity with the Republican arguments. And Democrats win the argument against repeal and replace by a lot. Republicans are advancing a losing argument and this could still move toward pro-reform positions in the coming months. It is important to talk about health care.
Look carefully at the arguments and you will see that we continually talked about affordability and getting costs down for small businesses and consumers at every opportunity and in every context. The more people learn about the tax credits and policies that reduce their risk of costs— like pre-existing conditions— we start to win. It is important to let people know that those earning over $200,000 pay for it and voters accept the argument for a penalty for those that free ride and pass on costs.
It is important to prioritize the economy, but we gain by talking about the benefits, the need to make improvements that reduce costs, and above all, the argument that we should not refight the old battles over health care.
For more, listen to Stan Greenberg and Resurgent Republic pollster Whit Ayres discuss their findings on Morning Edition on NPR (July 19, 2012):