Latinos’ support for Obamacare drops steeply

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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Another day, another unwelcome poll for the White House.

Pew reports that Hispanic support for Obamacare has lurched downwards from 60-plus percent in September 2013 to 47 percent.

That matters a lot, because it possibly means there’s less chance that the GOP’s campaign against Obamacare will prompt the large Hispanic turnout that President Barack Obama needs in November to keep Sen. Harry Reid in charge of the Senate.

So far, Democrats have expected Latinos’ support for Obamacare will help them vote Democratic in November.

But the poll showing tepid support for Obamacare might force Obama to spend more time and money pushing Obamacare up the priority list.

Overall, Obama’s support among Hispanics fell from 75 percent in December 2012, to 52 percent in November, according to Gallup.

Between 2009 and 2012, Obama’s support fell among Hispanics, but he easily revived it by granting a quasi-amnesty to at least 500,000 younger illegal immigrants in June 2012. The GOP’s open criticism of the President’s move also buttressed his support among Latinos, who gave him 71 percent of the their vote in November.

But top Democrats are split on whether Obama can use even the most emotional aspects of the immigration dispute to spur Latino turnout this year.

“Of course it is going to effect turnout,” AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka told The Daily Caller March 14.

“Everybody knows that the Republicans are stopping… 11 million [illegal immigrant] citizens — that are citizens in every way except papers — from getting citizenship,” he said during a brief interview outside the White House.

“It is not clear” if the immigration issue will increase the Latino vote in November, Janet Murguia, president of the largest Latino lobby group, the National Council of La Raza, told TheDC. “I don’t know, but what I have said is that it will certainly have an impact on the 2016 election.”

Democrats have long regarded their creation of Obamacare as a key driver for the Hispanic turnout.

The GOP’s biggest problem with Hispanics is Obamacare, not immigration, David Plouffe told the New York Times in in February 2013, shortly after the 2012 election. “It’s their economic policies and health care. The group that supported the president’s health care bill the most? Latinos,” said Plouffe, who was Obama’s campaign manager in the 2008 election and a top adviser for the 2012 election.

The new Pew poll shows that Hispanics are now split evenly on Obamacare, with 47 percent approval and 47 percent disapproval.

“Over most of the past four years, Hispanics have offered more support than opposition for the health care law… support for the ACA among Hispanics fell sharply in October of 2013 (to 47%) and has yet to recover,” said the March 20 Pew report, “ACA at Age 4: More Disapproval than Approval.”

That score puts Hispanics closer to whites, at 33 percent approval, than to blacks who remain solidly behind Obamacare at 77 percent approval.

Hispanics’ support for Obamacare crashed after Obama admitted he had lied when he claimed voters could keep their own health-care plan if they wished to keep it. Since then, Obama has also admitted that people won’t be able to keep their own doctors, as he had promised while pushing the bill through Congress.

Support might have also dropped because the Spanish-language website has been crippled for months, hindering access by the roughly one-quarter of Hispanic households that only speak Spanish at home.

Also, Obamacare’s monthly premiums are high, especially for younger people who can’t get a subsidy.

Also, the law allows poor people to sign up for Medicare, perhaps reducing the willingness of people to give credit to Obamacare.

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