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February 8, 2016

2012 Election Result Isn’t Quite Vote of Confidence Democrats Say It Is

“Elections matter.”

That’s probably the most common refrain of the health care battle. Democrats consistently point back to President Barack Obama’s convincing 2012 re-election win as evidence that the American people back his agenda, including his signature piece of legislation.

But I was surprised when I looked back at the national exit poll to see what “the people” said about Obamacare while they gave the president a second term.

“Should the 2010 Healthcare law be repealed?” Nearly a majority, 49 percent, said yes, while 44 percent said no.

Another question dug a little deeper. “2010 Healthcare law should be….” 25 percent said repealed completely and 24 percent said repealed in part. Just 18 percent thought it should be “kept as is” while 26 percent said the law should be expanded.

What’s remarkable is how static voter attitudes were toward the law from 2010 to 2012. In the 2010 midterm elections, 48 percent said the new healthcare law should be repealed, 31 percent thought it should be expanded and 16 percent thought it should be left as is.

It’s also a stretch to say that the 2012 election was a referendum on health care. Just 18 percent of last year’s electorate said that health care was the most important issue facing the country. Of course, the last election was about many things, including the economy and Mitt Romney, both his background— which included pushing and signing into law as governor of Massachusetts a law remarkably similar to Obamacare — and his comments on the campaign trail.

There is no denying that Obama won the 2012 presidential election. But that vote shouldn’t be held up as a vote of confidence for Obamacare. And it’s worth mentioning (again) that the Republicans taking a stand against the president were elected, too.

  • foosion

    While many people say they oppose Obamacare, only a minority say they understand it and an even smaller number actually understand the major features.

    It’s worth mentioning more people voted for House Democrats than House Republicans. That the Republicans have more House seats does not speak well for democracy.

    Obviously more people voted for a Dem President and Senate.

    • mabramso

      No, that more people voted for House Democrats than House Republicans only suggests that the Democrats were more successful in getting their voters to the polls last November than Republicans were. And we already knew that was the case. The important thing is that in 2012, the GOP House members also won their respective seats, and they are resisting Obamacare because THEIR voters want them to do so and are supportive of their efforts, in spite of the loathing that people NOT IN THEIR DISTRICTS have for them.

      • deacrick

        However, if a clean continuing resolution bill were presented to the House it would pass. The folks pushing for a showdown and shutdown are at best a majority of the majority party. The House as a whole is not being represented.

        • mabramso

          That is probably, but not necessarily, the case. Each body has their quirks, and neither is allowing a floor vote on the other body’s bill.

    • nathanlgonzales

      I’ve actually written about how I think the House popular vote is irrelevant. You can read the reasoning here:

      And Democrats may want to pause before putting so much emphasis on the House popular vote anyway. In 2010, House GOP candidates received 6 million more votes. What if House GOPers get more votes in 2014?

  • susierosie

    This man does not talk about that the biggest percentage of people say that they want the law expanded. If so that mean they don’t want the law repealed. DUH!

    • nathanlgonzales

      49 percent say they want all or part of the law repealed. 26 percent say they want it expanded. That was in the article. I don’t understand how the expansion crowd constitutes “the biggest percentage of people.”

  • sentforth5

    Anyone who has any understanding of this unconstitutional law whatsoever is completely against it…only the dead fish are going with the flow.

    • Jesse4

      If you had any understanding of how American government works, you’d understand that when the Supreme Court rules something constitutional, it’s defined as constitutional.

      • sentforth5

        Yeah, right pal

      • zappa24

        As you can see, Jesse, the Supreme Court is no longer the final arbiter of what is and what is not constitutional. Sentforth5 now has been given the ability to overrule the Supreme Court on this matter and on any other he sees fit

        • Rick Caird

          I guess you don’t realize the Supreme Court gave themselves the right to rule on the Constitutionality in Marbury vs Madison. That can be taken away. In fact, given the right circumstance, I support a President standing up and defying the Supreme Court. They need a bit of that to keep them from getting a arrogant as Obama.

          • zappa24

            Judicial review was not directly denoted in the Constitution, but it clearly arises from the fact that the court system is given the job of determining the status of contradicting laws (such as a recently passed law versus the Constitution as law), and the Supreme Court is the ultimate decider amongst the courts of law.

      • rebecca3

        The Supreme Court also ruled that Salvery was Constitutional; The Supreme Court also ruled Segregation as Constitutional and this is the same court that ruled internment of US citizens of Japanese descent Constitutional… Jesse4 obviously attended one of our government run public schools and skipped Civics class!

    • deacrick

      the Supreme Court ruled on it . borrow a civics book

  • Bioflare

    ““Should the 2010 Healthcare law be repealed?” Nearly a majority, 49 percent, said yes, while 44 percent said no.”

    And that doesn’t sound very much like a vote of confidence for shutting down the government for the first time in two decades either.

    • deacrick

      80 percent of OKlahoma and 90% of Texas skew the national numbers a bit.

      • mabramso

        As do 80% of MA, CA, IL, RI, VT, HI, etc. We could do this all day.

  • disconsolatechimera

    Did this poll get the numbers 49-repeal vs. 44 don’t by adding up the second poll you quote: “25 percent said repealed completely and 24 percent said repealed in
    part. Just 18 percent thought it should be “kept as is” while 26 percent
    said the law should be expanded.” [Scroll to bottom for tl;dr]

    I.e., is 49 -repeal = 25-repeal completely + 24 repeal in part, and 44 don’t = 18 keep + 26 expand? If so, isn’t it a bit misrepresentative to assign the entire 24% of “repeal in part” to the “repeal” side? Shouldn’t the “don’t repeal” side get some of that? After all, those people are saying they just want some part of the law repealed.

    So maybe a more… *ahem* fair and balance representation would be to split the “repeal in part” section. Since we, of course, have no idea of the opinions of that 24% but can infer that the majority are probably more anti- than pro-, I do think it should be weighted that way. So, why don’t we split it 2/3 – 1/3? Then, the poll numbers would look more like:

    25-repeal completely + (2/3 of 24% repeal in part = 16) = 41% and
    18% keep + 26% expand + (1/3 of 24% repeal in part = 8) = 52%.

    41% Repeal to 52% Keep, when allowing for the fact that “repeal in part” also means “keep in part.”


    • Rick Caird

      Nice try, but poor arithmetic and logic. Repeal in part is not keep. The left has weird math skills.

      • disconsolatechimera

        But, nor is repeal in part, repeal completely. So maybe it should be left out of the equation completely? Or there should be three options, for honesty’s sake: repeal completely, repeal in part, and don’t repeal. In which case, do the math.

  • rambler

    I hate polls! All types!

  • Rick Caird

    Oh, I deny Obama actually won the election. Taranto calls him “President Asterisk”. How many voter voted multiple times? How many ineligible people voted? How many people, who did not need to provide id, registered and voted who were ineligible? How much of the TEA Party vote was suppressed by the IRS and IRS audits? No one knows the answers, but it would not have taken a lot of voters to change some state results and change the electoral vote. I don’t believe Obama won a single state that enforced voter id.

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