How Will Repealing Health Care Play in November?

It's hard to imagine the nation's massive new set of health care laws simply vanishing after a bad November for Democrats, but some Republicans are calling for just that, and it looks like the strategy could win them a few votes in conservative districts this fall.

According to a new survey from GOP polling/research firm Resurgent Republic, a full 53% of independent voters support repeal, while 41% oppose it and 8% either don't know or aren't sure.

This is a statistic that could very well become part of Republican talking points for November, as they depict health reform as wildly unpopular. But it's worth taking a look at how the question was asked. In contacting 1,000 likely independent voters, the firm asked them whether they agree that:

We should repeal the Obama health care reform law, and replace it with a system that lowers costs, allows people to keep the coverage they have now, and give individuals the same tax breaks businesses get to provide health care insurance. Obama's law will drive health care costs through the roof and bankrupt the country.

Who wouldn't want a system that lowers costs, allows people to keep their coverage, and gives out tax breaks? Apparently, 41% of independents don't agree with the above statement.

At the same time, polling by the neutral firm Gallup also indicates that health reform isn't popular among independents--at all. In fact, independents told Gallup June 11-13 that Congress's passage of health reform was a "bad thing" by a margin of 53% to 41%--the same margin by which Resurgent Republic says they support repeal.

And repeal appears to play well among all voters, when asked about a theoretical candidate and his/her theoretical views. NBC/Wall Street Journal polling of 1,000 adults in June shows 47% of voters "enthusiastic" or "comfortable" with a theoretical House candidate's support for repeal, while 40% "have some reservations" or are "very uncomfortable."

So while there's reason to be skeptical when Republicans claim that "independents support repeal" and cite the Resurgent Republic survey, temper that skepticism with a knowledge that, yes, talking about repeal could net Republicans a few votes in November.