Just after the law was passed in 2010, fully 74 percent of moderate and conservative Democrats supported the federal law making changes to the health-care system. But just 46 percent express support in the new poll, down 11 points in the past year.
Now the best case scenario here for ACA supporters is that this trend will reverse itself as the rollout happens. The rollout (the supporters hope) will eventually work better than expected, and people will start receiving benefits that they won’t want to lose. Matt Yglesias is perhaps the most prominent writer making the first argument, and Brian Beutler has made the second argument over at TPM.But even in that case, the poll numbers above still have a lot of importance for one simple fact: how successful Obamacare ends up being depends on how dedicated all the parties involved in its implementation are to making it work. Bad poll numbers now mean that moderate Democrats could become very half-hearted in their attempts to help implementation. In that eventuality, the ACA will never even get the chance to prove itself; bad numbers now will hinder implementation, thereby almost guaranteeing bad numbers later.This doesn’t mean, of course, the ACA’s failure is inevitable. But President Obama is going to need to call in all his political capital, and then some, to find a way out of this death spiral.