Killing Obamacare is Killing the Republican Party

Written by Ruy Teixeira

Don’t look now, but the Republican Party may be vanishing before our very eyes.

Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it is the case that the number of Americans willing to directly identify with the Republican Party is reaching historic lows. The rolling average of GOP party identification now stands at 22 percent and has been declining fairly steadily for the last several years. The latest poll from Pew Research Center — perhaps the most reliable of all pollsters — has the GOP down to only 19 percent identification.

What’s going on? President Obama’s approval rating has been declining and is now “underwater” (higher disapproval than approval). The GOP, of course, has been single-mindedly dedicated to opposing him. They are particularly committed to opposing Obamacare, which on the surface seems like an even juicier target, averaging just 40 percent approval in recent polls. Indeed, they are so dedicated they have voted 40 times to repeal it and now are threatening to shut down the government unless the program is defunded. You’d think that beating up on these not-so-popular targets would yield more, not less, identification with the GOP. Where’s the love?

Maybe they’re placing their bets on the wrong horse, especially when it comes to Obamacare. Start with the fact that roughly a third of the opposition to Obamacare stems from the view that the program isn’t liberal enough rather than too liberal. That doesn’t fit with the GOP’s blow-it-up paradigm. Nor do recent polls that show an average of only 35 percent saying they want to repeal Obamacare as opposed to keeping it as is or with changes.

A recent Hart Research/SEIU poll on voter attitudes toward the ACA makes the point even more clearly. As Hart Research puts in in their memo on the poll:

Voters feel intensely negative toward Republican candidates who have worked to repeal or undermine the law, especially those who are unwilling to help their constituents take advantage of the benefits and protections available to them under the ACA… Seventy-one percent of voters express unfavorable feelings toward “a Republican who, as an elected official, refuses to help individuals and small businesses understand how best to deal with Obamacare and take advantage of its benefits.”… Two-thirds of all voters (including 60% of undecided voters) have an unfavorable impression of “a Republican who repeatedly voted to cut the funding needed to effectively implement the law, and refuses to provide information to employers and individuals about it.”

No wonder the GOP’s anti-Obamacare shenanigans aren’t helping their brand with the public. The point is underscored by another finding from the Hart survey:

Our generic congressional trial heat shows a relatively narrow, three-point advantage for Democratic candidates (44%) over Republicans (41%) nationwide. However, when the choice in the 2014 election is presented as “a Democrat who favors fixing and improving Obamacare rather than repealing it altogether” versus “a Republican who wants to totally repeal Obamacare,” voters favor the Democratic candidate (51%) over the Republican candidate (36%) by 15 percentage points.

Thus it would appear that the more the GOP pursues their anti-Obamacare crusade, the more damage they do to themselves. Indeed, when combined with their destructive opposition to immigration reform, popular gun regulations and any expanded efforts to revive the economy, it’s hard to think of a group of voters they could alienate who they haven’t. That’s why we see their party identification hitting 20 percent or below. If Republicans ever want to see their party identification climb back up to respectable levels, instead of sinking slowly in the west, they’d be well-advised to re-think their current strategy, especially their obsession with repealing Obamacare.

This post was originally published on ThinkProgress.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim V1 years ago

thanks for the article.

Frank Hanline
Frank Hanline4 years ago

@ Mike W: Perhaps you shouldn't have too many fatties before posting

The Dems are pushing for legalization while the GOP establishment wants more crimes to off load prisons to private contractors, read friends

Mike Wilkinson
Mike Wilkinson4 years ago

this voter has found few friends of freedom in his time on this rock, both republicans and democrats are supporters of the war on drugs/marijuana!.....therefore they are not my friends....I will vote democratic knowing full well that they do not support my right to toke a fatty......I will not vote republican as they want to abolish any rights we have gained in the workplace and the grow room....and they march to a ''christian'' drum that is so devoid of compassion and kindness that their rhetoric is laughable at best.......we need a pot smoking pagan hedonist in the white house yesterday.......

Dennis D.
Past Member 4 years ago
July 18, 2013, 9:25 pm
The White House Is Not a Metronome

Instead, some humility is called for when interpreting the evidence. On the eve of an election — when the polls have become very reliable, and we know the identities of the candidates and something about the state of the economy and the mood of the country — it is possible to make relatively bold and precise forecasts about the outcome. But none of this applies three and a half years in advance."

Margaret G. He makes no such prediction.

Margaret Goodman
Margaret G4 years ago

Nate Silver, who is very good at predicting elections, says that the 2014 election will probably give the Republicans the Senate and continued control of the House.

Every United States citizen in Care2 who does not want this to happen should register and vote!

Deborah W.
Deborah W4 years ago

So much bigger than Republicans or Democrats ... we the people are still capable of ingesting and understanding vs. infesting and indifference. Let it play out, NO ONE knows, not even the "experts".

GGma Sheila D.
GGmaSAway D4 years ago

I thought the Independent, or Green Party was the third...the TP would become the fourth..or maybe not. The TP could just become the New Republican Party and the old Republicans will form a new party?? The political party system seems to be running its course, and the best thing that could happen is for Both parties to disband. We get to vote on people, rather than party line. It's also time the Electoral College was disbanded, it's a relic and no longer a valid group t choose a President.

Silly me, I forgot that Faux News and Glenn Beck, and Limbaugh, etc would be out of jobs...or become part of the TP. One can always Wish and Hope.

Cletus W.
Cletus W.4 years ago

Frank S. says "Cletus or whoever you are pretending to be , this is just a discussion so chill out"

Yes Frank S., and I merely added to that discussion by giving some context to the conversation, by pinpointing the rightwing pinpoint on your head. So I agree, why don't you take your own advice and just chill out?

Instead of all the kicking and screaming, why not just lie back and enjoy your ride back into prosperity? Why expend so much energy to return to PROVEN failure?

Or do you have some additional veiwpoints or insights that might shine some light on my characterization of you and your swim-buddy David F.?

Jasmine Summers-Evans


Peggy A.
Peggy A4 years ago