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Fresh polling data released today by FreedomWorks reveals that Republicans face greater political danger if they vote to fund ObamaCare than if they stand on principle to defund it.
The poll, conducted over this past weekend, confirms what conservative grassroots activists have been telling lawmakers back home during the just-concluded August recess: Funding ObamaCare is politically riskier than defunding it.
The president's health care law has been a partisan issue since it was first unveiled in 2009, with independents siding mostly with Republicans to oppose the scheme.
Republicans, who profess to want to eliminate ObamaCare "root and branch," should take note:
While a solid majority of Americans (56%) favor a continuing resolution (CR) that “does not include funding for Obamacare," an eye-popping 82% of Republicans do. Eight in ten Republicans favor a CR that defunds ObamaCare.
This means that Republicans in Congress who vote to fund ObamaCare are getting crosswise, not just with the public, but also -- and more dangerously -- with their own strongest supporters.
The danger for incumbent Republicans come from the relatively stronger intensity of feeling among rank-and-file GOP voters.
While a mere 16% of Americans say they would personally be “worse off” if “Obamacare was not implemented at all,” for Republicans that figure is a microscopic 5%. This strongly suggests that the overwhelming majority of Americans don't feel stopping ObamaCare would harm them personally.
The new FreedomWorks numbers also confirm information found in many other recent polls, showing that Republicans and independents strongly oppose ObamaCare and if anything want to see it completely repealed.
FreedomWorks also asked about the individual mandate to purchase insurance, and found that 54% of Americans favor “delaying the individual mandate for at least a year," and 60% of Republicans would favor such a delay.
Numerous polls show the individual mandate to be the single most unpopular provision of the 2,801-page law, with overwhelming majorities of all demographic groups opposing it, including two-thirds of Democrats.
Only 12 percent of Americans want to see the individual mandate take effect on January 1st as scheduled. In July, President Obama decided to unilaterally delay the employer mandate, making the individual mandate even more glaringly unpopular.
In the wake of that decision, a bill to delay the individual mandate passed the House with all but one Republican and an unprecedented 22 Democrats voting in favor, despite strong pressure from Democratic leaders.
The danger for Republicans, politically, is not in defunding the Washington takeover of health care. The danger for them is in funding it.
A vote to fund ObamaCare through a CR or other spending bill is a vote for ObamaCare. Incumbents who claim to oppose ObamaCare are better off standing with their strongest supporters than with Beltway elites.
The survey of 1,000 American adults was conducted September 6th through 9th, and has a margin of error of ± 3.0%.