The 2008 Presidential Election: A Progressive Mandate? A Hard Look at the Polling Data

On Sunday, March 21 a historic vote in the U.S. House of Representatives had assured that most of the substance of “ObamaCare” would become law. During a short interview on Fox News directly after the vote, an elated Rev. Al Sharpton was unusually candid in his assessment of how the American people would, or at least should, respond to this achievement.

On that day, abundant polling was indicating widespread public skepticism and even fear about the health care package. It had passed by only seven votes in a House decisively controlled (59%) by the President’s own party. Even this narrow margin of support existed only because of a final, no-holds-barred, very personal push by not only House Speaker Nancy Pelosi but Obama himself; ironically, one in which a strongly pro-choice President sought ways to satisfy pro-life Democrats that there would be no taxpayer funding of abortions. All of the “bipartisanship” belonged to the opposition: Every Republican as well as an astonishing 34 Democrats (over 13% of them), had voted “nay.” These clear deficits in Congressional and public support for ObamaCare endured despite over a year of intense and very high-profile lobbying, “education,” and sales efforts by President Obama and the Democratic leadership. In every way imaginable, they had sought to convince the American public to embrace their plan to “reform” health care in the United States and extend health coverage to almost every citizen through a dramatic expansion of the role of the federal government in funding and regulating that sector.

Download the full document here (PDF)