GOP Swoons Over Missouri Health Care Vote, Ignores National Attitudes

August 05, 2010 10:08 am ET — Alan Pyke

Republicans are touting a Missouri referendum on the Affordable Care Act as confirmation of their view that Americans vehemently oppose the landmark law.

  • Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) said in a statement that Democrats passed the law "against the will of the people," and called the referendum "a strong declaration that Americans continue to reject ObamaCare's job-killing mandates and tax increases."
  • Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) crowed that "the Democrats controlling Congress arrogantly rammed their unpopular legislation into law," and accused the White House of "sheer arrogance and political tone deafness."
  • Sarah Palin tweeted, "USA Heartland speaks!" and called the vote a "stunning message to DC".

Despite their strutting, this referendum merely proves that Republican primary voters really don't like health care reform. TPM explained why this is a dog-bites-man non-story:

[T]he Republican-written initiative was widely expected to pass. It did, by a margin of 71%-29%, thanks in large part to the GOP primaries being far more competitive and attracting more conservative (and energized) voters. The Kansas City Star reported, in fact, that 65 percent of the votes cast went to Republican primary candidates overall -- and only 23 percent of voters turned out at all.

If leading Republicans want to know what the American people are thinking about the Affordable Care Act, they should probably weigh a national poll over a ballot measure that gauged just 23 percent of Missouri's registered voters, most of them Republicans.

The Kaiser Family Foundation has been running a tracking poll on health care reform for months now. As of July, support for the Affordable Care Act is at 50 percent, and opposition is down to 35 percent:

Furthermore, only 27 percent support the GOP drive to repeal the law and revive the system that got rich off of "pre-existing conditions" and "lifetime caps."