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One Year Down, Pollsters Handicap Health Law Politics

From the very beginning, supporters of the health law said the American public would embrace the measure once they learned more about all of its consumer-friendly features. Opponents, especially Republicans, disagreed — and, for that, some were rewarded in the election of 2010. To get a fresh take on how these perspectives have played out and how public opinion has evolved, Kaiser Health News asked two pollsters for their analyses.

Democratic Perspective:  Health Law Will Eventually Win Over Public
Celinda Lake, David Mermin and Dan Spicer, all of Lake Research Partners, write that, despite its course along a rough path, the health law will eventually take its place among the country’s “most cherished social programs” – including Social Security and Medicare. From the earliest days of the debate, the law has been marked by “deep divisions” in opinion between people who have health insurance and people who don’t. They also note that some governors have “taken it upon themselves to drag their feet on implementation of the law” – decisions, she says citing recent polling data, that fly “in the face of the will of the American public.” Read more >>

Republican Perspective:  Health Debate Is Far From Over
Bill McInturff and Lori Weigel, both of Public Opinion Strategies, offer a different view. They find that what is most revealing about Americans’ attitudes toward the law is “what is absent” – that being “a change in attitudes.” And, they say, though Americans like key features of the law, their overall opposition is increasingly linked to the idea that the law’s individual mandate is unconstitutional. Their take-home message: the health debate is “far from over” and will be a flashpoint in the 2012 election. Read more >>