By James Carville - 04/01/14 07:25 PM EDT
Earlier this year I took to the pages of The Hill to encourage Democratic strategists to focus on what conditions would look like in November, and not be demoralized by what they look like in February and March. I pushed them to act like they were running the fast break in the NCAA tournament and to throw the lead pass, and to have some confidence that conditions would improve. And it sure does seem, if you look at the latest ABC/Washington Post poll, that the receiver of that pass has moved somewhat.
Focusing on the biggest issue, ObamaCare, we can see in the ABC/Post poll significant gains in support of the healthcare reform law. Although the electorate is split with 49 percent supporting the healthcare law and 48 percent opposing, those are much better numbers than what we saw in November, when an ABC/Washington Post survey found only 40 percent in support of the law and 57 percent in opposition.
While the numbers in the ABC/Post poll are looking up and the trajectory is looking better, let’s not get too optimistic without seeing the defense when we throw that lead pass.
After Alex Sink was sunk in the Florida special congressional race in February, my fellow Democratic strategists went back to their get-out-the-vote strategy and feared another 1994 or 2010 landslide election for the GOP. Well, Democratic voters might now be motivated to stand by the administration’s top legislative achievement more than ever — the same ABC/Post poll found that Democratic support for ObamaCare has reached 76 percent, which is up 11 percentage points from January. My fellow Democrats feared we didn’t have a motivating issue ... well, Republican opposition to the law, to no one’s surprise, is at 78 percent.
I like being on the side of healthcare consumer. I think that is a winning argument for Democrats.
This past weekend was the Louisiana Derby, and with the Kentucky Derby on the horizon, I have been making some bets lately. One bet I made recently was with my friend Bill O’Reilly at Fox News, about the future and fate of ObamaCare. He gave the reform law a 25 percent chance of success, and among his colleagues, that might make him the most optimistic. Even on his show I was a critic of the Affordable Care Act rollout. I even called it a “disaster,” which it was. But I took that bet. And now, could somebody say the Congressional Budget Office, the federal government, and administration healthcare officials got the number of enrollees pretty right?
Well, here is a shout-out to those who don’t often get a shout-out: great job.
Carville is a chief political correspondent for ARISE Television. He also serves as a professor at Tulane University in New Orleans, where he lives with his wife, Republican strategist Mary Matalin. Together they are finishing their book Love and War. His column will appear twice a month in The Hill.