There is considerable polling evidence that passage of health insurance reform will do two things: it will create a critical impression of the country moving forward in tackling its problems and will reassure and revive Democratic voters. Mark Blumenthal notes a fascinating aspect of a poll from NB/WSJ above. It showed reform to be unpopular in the abstract but much more popular if it became law:
"If the current health care legislation becomes law, will you consider it to be a step forward or a step backward?" Asked this way, the margin closed: 44 percent said it was a step forward and 49 percent said it was a step backward, leaving just 7 percent unable to answer.
Notice particularly the Independent number. My view is that if Obama and the Democrats campaign this fall on having ended the pre-existing conditions cruelties of insurance companies, on having provided a chance of insurance to the working poor (remember Hispanics favor reform by 86 percent), and ride a wave of modest economic recovery as well, the political narrative changes considerably.
Obama, like Reagan, will be perceived as having the grit to deliver against almighty odds. And if he continues to succeed in capturing and killing as many al Qaeda and Taliban thugs as he already has, and if he can bring some troops home from Iraq ... well, I think he has a much better campaign theme than the do-nothing-but-brandish-your-guns-at-Starbucks right.
There is also more and more evidence, as I point out in my column this week, that support for reform has been remarkably solid since November:
I exclude Rasmussen, as usual, but even if you include Rasmussen, you get this:
This bill is highly sellable, especially when you campaign on its separate, specific, most popular parts. I hear a sound in the distance, if the Democrats can avoid losing their shit.