The liberal left and their supporters in the media are jubilant about Mark Pryor’s new ad about pre-existing conditions, oddly claiming that it is a sign of ObamaCare’s growing popularity. Let’s put aside the fact that it has been illegal under federal law for nearly two decades for an insurance company to cancel or not renew a policy because of sickness (and illegal under many state laws for far longer). Let’s put aside that ensuring that people with pre-existing conditions have access to coverage has long been a popular policy, and one where there is bipartisan agreement.
The fact is that most viewers of Mark Pryor’s latest ad wouldn’t even realize that the embattled Senator is talking about ObamaCare (or, as supporters might prefer to call it, the Affordable Care Act). Had Pryor openly embraced ObamaCare and reiterated his support for the law through a paid ad, it’d be cause for celebration on the left. It is hardly surprising that Pryor did not do that. Instead, this ad is little more than an attempt to inoculate a very vulnerable Senator from a law that is extremely unpopular in his state (63% unfavorable in Arkansas
). How does one explain the fact that neither the “Affordable Care Act” nor “ObamaCare” is mentioned?
As for the law itself, it’s the entirety of ObamaCare that it remains EXTREMELY unpopular (in fact every single available poll shows that ObamaCare is just as unpopular today as it was in 2010, if not more so. The RCP polling average of ObamaCare this summer is 41/54%. In November 2010, it was 43/52%. In large part the public view of the law has remained stagnant and unpopular.
Obviously our press office has received a number of calls (entirely from outlets based in Washington, DC) about the ad. Several also pointed to claims that the number of ObamaCare ads is on the decline, a notion that while statistically accurate is highly misleading. We’ve said for well over year now that the election is about far more than just ObamaCare, but that the law remains VERY unpopular and is a vehicle that helps drive larger problems and themes, namely trust and competence
: "We've said for some time that the politics of ObamaCare is about more than just the healthcare overhaul itself. It's about competence in government. It's about credibility of elected officials whom repeatedly made promises that they couldn't deliver.”
It’s also important to note that in the fall of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014 several issue advocacy groups dominated the airwaves with an ad campaign based entirely on ObamaCare. This all took place during a time when few if any campaigns (on either side) were on air with ads of their own because the election remained far off. It is only natural that as those issue ads wound down, the percentage of ads focused exclusively on ObamaCare dropped, especially in an environment where campaigns started going on air with the own introductory ads, which tend to be biographical spots. Considering that the public view of the unpopular law remains static, it is simply common sense that once voters are reminded and/or made aware that a vulnerable Democratic Senator or candidate (see Bruce Braley and Gary Peters) supported/supports/stands by their vote, running ads exclusively and solely on ObamaCare would be nonsensical.
Like many other Senators, Mark Pryor’s support for ObamaCare is a major impediment to his campaign, but not the lone one.