Obamacare Buy-In: Is it Just About the Name?

E.J. Dionne notes that Obamacare’s popularity depends in large part on the labeling and branding of the law.

“Republicans would much prefer to run against the law’s name and brand than the law itself. They also really want to avoid being pressed for specifics as to what ‘repealing Obamacare’ would mean in practice.”

“As one Democratic pollster told me, his focus groups showed that when voters outside the Republican base are given details about what the law does and how it works, ‘people come around and say, ‘That’s not so bad, what’s everybody excited about?’ ”

“The Bluegrass State is particularly instructive on the importance of labeling and branding. A Public Policy Polling survey this month found that the Affordable Care Act had a net negative approval rating, 34 percent to 51 percent. But Kynect was rated positively, 34 percent to 27 percent.

“As Mark Pryor knows, the president’s unpopularity in certain parts of the country doesn’t mean that voters want to throw his greatest accomplishment overboard — even if they’d be happy to rename it.”


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