Conservatives are likely to do very well in Tuesday’s election. They are also likely to make all kinds of fallacious claims about what the election results mean. One we’re likely to hear a lot about is a supposed mandate to repeal health care reform. But claiming a mandate doesn’t make it so. Consider these results from two recent polls.
A mid-October AP-GfK poll asked respondents what they would prefer Congress to do about the new health care law. Contrary to the conservative story line, 57 percent wanted to either leave the law as is (18 percent) or change it so it does more to change the health care system (39 percent). On the other side, 41 percent wanted the law changed so that it does less to change the health care system (9 percent) or completely repealed (32 percent).
In a late October CBS News/New York Times poll respondents were first asked if they favored repeal of health care reform: 45 percent said no and 41 percent said yes. Those favoring repeal were then asked whether they would still support repeal if that meant “insurance companies were no longer required to cover people with existing medical conditions or prior illnesses.” That query reduced the pro-repeal contingent to just 25 percent.
That’s not exactly a mandate for repeal. But since when did reality get in the way of conservative policy ideas?
Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis go to the Media and Progressive Values page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.