After a rough year, Democrats should savor what happened on Monday February 17, 2015.
President Obama and Obamacare both hit 50 percent.
The president’s approval rating is back at 50 percent in the Gallup daily tracking poll. He hit the halfway mark for the first time since June 2013 just after his most recent State of the Union and then fell back slightly.
Buoyed by a growing economy and low gas prices — which America has little-to-no control over — Obama’s approval is now higher than Ronald Reagan’s was at this point the Reagan presidency. (Conservative Gipper Defenders argue, “Well, that’s only because the administration had been caught selling missiles to Iran to fund an illegal war.” To which I say, “That’s a defense of Reagan?”) And it’s almost 20 percent higher than George W. Bush’s in 2007 when his aides began giving him his ratings in Roman numerals so he wouldn’t have time to figure them out.
Even more importantly, a new YouGov poll shows for the first time 50 percent of Americans want to keep or expand Obamacare.
This news was announced just as the White House released enrollment numbers that showed 11.4 million Americans have signed up for an insurance plan through an Affordable Care Act Exchange.
There are some definite caveats to address here. These are just two polls. Obama’s improving polling average, which is always more reliable, shows him still underwater with 49. 5 disapproving and 46.3 approving. And the ACA’s approval number average is still 10 percent more negative than positive.
These numbers could definitely get worse if the first tax period with the ACA’s tax period now unfolding to some consternation and confusion. (Democrats should remind people: If you think this situation is nuts, imagine if the Supreme Court rips tax credits from around 9 million working Americans!)
But what if the blips up and down that mark any polling continue to show an upward trend for the president, the economy and his key accomplishment?
Republicans will be forced to focus their attacks on foreign policy, a tough case to make when your nominee is named Bush or only has the foreign policy experience of embarrassing himself in a foreign country.
Even that may work when you have a political party and the Koch network both preparing to spend around a billion dollars to elect the president who could pick up to four Supreme Court justices.
But with the party floundering on immigration worse than they did in 2011, facing an economy better than it has been all century and stuck with a bunch of candidates who torn between pleasing donors or an increasingly rabid base, a more popular Obama and Obamacare is their worst nightmare.