With Coverage in Peril and Obama Gone, Health Law’s Critics Go Quiet

For seven years, few issues have animated conservative voters as much as the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. But with President Barack Obama out of office, the debate over “Obamacare” is becoming less about “Obama” and more about “care” — greatly complicating the issue for Republican lawmakers. …

It is a longstanding rule of politics that rallying opposition to a proposal is usually easier than galvanizing support. And never is this more the case than when a widely distributed benefit is at risk of being taken away. CONT.

Jonathan Martin, New York Times

Recent polls: Affordable Care Act

Polling Matters: Trouble for Trump, ‘fake news’ & what the UK really thinks about immigration

On this week’s PB/Polling Matters podcast Keiran is joined by Leo Barasi and Harry Carr (Head of Sky Data) to discuss Donald Trump’s approval rating and latest controversies, YouGov polling on ‘Fake News’ and the latest Polling Matters / Opinium survey which this week takes a look at immigration … and the approval ratings of Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and other party leaders including (topically) UKIP leader Paul Nuttall.

PB/Polling Matters

Iowans like Obamacare more now that it is imperiled

Iowans have grown fonder of Obamacare as its potential demise looms larger, a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows. …

The new poll shows most of Obamacare’s main elements remain popular with Iowans. For example, 87 percent of Iowans want to retain a ban on insurance companies denying coverage to people with pre-existing health problems. …

The only major portion of the law that most Iowans want to see repealed is a requirement that all Americans have insurance coverage or pay a penalty. CONT.

Tony Leys, Des Moines Register

With ‘Fake News,’ Trump Moves From Alternative Facts To Alternative Language

Friday night, President Trump took to Twitter to deliver one of his favorite insults to journalists ….


Anyone who has followed the news knows this isn’t what “fake news” meant just a few months ago. Back then, it meant lies posing as news, made up by people from Macedonian teenagers to a dad in the Los Angeles suburbs. …

Now, Trump casts all unfavorable news coverage as fake news. In one tweet, he even went so far as to say that “any negative polls are fake news.” And many of his supporters have picked up and run with his new definition.

The ability to reshape language — even a little — is an awesome power to have. …

“The speed of language adoption has never been as fast as it is now, and part of that is because of social media and the ability to touch people wherever they are, whenever you want, with no limits,” said Frank Luntz, a Republican strategist who has helped the GOP choose the words it uses to sell its policies. CONT.

Danielle Kurtzleben, NPR

The big mistake some anti-Trump protesters could be making

… Assuming their goal is to win popular support, how far can protesters go before their tactics become a hindrance, prompting backlash instead of winning hearts and minds? Are disruptive or violent acts of protest effective in winning support for a cause?

In the past year, we conducted experiments to assess how people respond to what we call “extreme protest tactics,” tactics that are highly disruptive or harmful to others, such as inciting or engaging in violence, blocking traffic and damaging property. Our results suggest that these tactics consistently fail to win popular support for social movements.

We find that they are more likely to backfire, prompting backlash and encouraging people to turn away from the cause. CONT.

Robb Willer (Stanford) & Matthew Feinberg (U. of Toronto), Washington Post

President Trump’s approval rating is at Barack Obama’s all-time low

… The gold standard of approval ratings is compiled by Gallup, the firm that helped create public polling and that has been sampling America’s opinion of its presidents since Franklin D. Roosevelt. Gallup compiles daily running and weekly averages that it used to track how popular presidents are. By neither metric is Trump doing very well. CONT.

Philip Bump, Washington Post

‘What the hell is he doing on Twitter and watching cable TV all the time?’: Eight independents talk Trump

President Trump’s low approval ratings are unprecedented for a president in his first month in office. So what, exactly, don’t people like?

To find out we talked with eight political independents about their reasons for disapproving of Trump so early in his term and asked them whether they’re holding out any optimism going forward. CONT.

Emily Guskin & Scott Clement, Washington Post

A President Misjudges His Audience

… As you may have heard, President Trump held a long and contentious press conference yesterday that left the press with a lot to chew on—not least because journalists themselves were primary targets of Trump’s anger and sarcastic contempt. One instinctive response to such a development is to engage in extensive debate about whether or not the average voter, or even the average Trump supporter, will feel more or less warmly toward Trump because of his behavior on Thursday. …

But this reflexive how-does-it-play-in-Peoria mentality misses the true story, at least in the present case. Over the past four weeks, a pivotal class of political actors both in this country and around the world has rapidly converged on the belief that the Trump administration is a terrible mess in nearly every conceivable respect. Members of Congress (of both parties), interest group leaders, bureaucrats, federal judges, media figures, foreign leaders, and even top staffers (and would-be staffers) within the White House itself are by all accounts agape with disbelief at this state of affairs, which has no remote parallel in the modern history of the nation.

Trump apparently wished to dispel this conclusion on Thursday, but his antics only reduced his stature still further in what turned out to be a serious political miscalculation. … Even if nobody else watched or cared, the president was making a fool of himself before a powerful group of people with considerable capacity to frustrate his policy ambitions and damage his political standing. CONT.

David A. Hopkins, Boston College

Fox News Poll: Voters divided over trusting Trump or the media

Slightly more voters find the White House more truthful than the media, according to the latest Fox News Poll.

In addition, most feel the press is tougher on President Trump than it was on President Obama. But that may be a positive development, as a majority thinks aggressive coverage of the presidency is good for the country. CONT.

Dana Blanton, Fox News

Ex-GOP leader Bob Michel, face of decency and public service, dies

Former House Republican Leader Bob Michel, who helped shepherd Ronald Reagan’s agenda through Congress only to be pushed aside by the rise of Newt Gingrich a decade later, has died at the age of 93. …

Indeed, it’s difficult to overstate how much the transition from Michel to Gingrich in 1994 impacted first House Republicans and then all of Congress as the fabric of civility soon fell apart and both political parties became more polarized.

“It’s day and night,” said Thomas Mann, a political scientist and long time student of Congress. “I see that transition — the shift from Michel to Gingrich — as the beginning of our really dreadfully dysfunctional Congress and a politics that became so personal and negative and anti-institutional that it really changed the whole character of public life in this country.” CONT.

David Rogers, Politico