Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says she believes Obamacare is a winner for her party. Asked about how the law's ongoing low approval numbers would affect Democrats' chances in tight races this November, she said, "You'll have to ask to ask the member, but I believe it's a winner."
The polls say otherwise. Indeed, they've said otherwise since before the law was passed. On average, polls currently show that about 53.7 percent of the public disapproves of the law, while just 38.5 percent approves, according to RealClearPolitics (RCP).
There have been minor shifts in approval and disapproval since the law passed, but overall those numbers have consistently shown disapproval since the law passed. The law passed in March 2010, but according to the RCP poll average, at no point since that year has public approval ever topped disapproval.
But Pelosi still claims to think it's a winner. If that sounds familiar, it's probably because that's the same argument the Democratic establishment pushed back in 2010 to help nudge anxious Democrats to vote for the law. As Politico noted at the time, numerous top Democrats and party strategists, including Bill Clinton and Obama administration pollsters, publicly predicted that the law would become popular after passage, and that party legislators would be able to run on its successes.
Indeed, even months after the law passed, that was the line that Pelosi and her staff were feeding reporters. She and her leadership team were "doubling down on healthcare reform," the Hill reported in July 2010, "betting that it will do Democrats more good than harm in November's elections." Once the public were more exposed to the law and its benefits, the argument went, they would warm up to it.
Obviously, they didn't. In fact, there's some pretty solid political science research suggesting that Democrats lost the House in 2010 because of Obamacare.
Four years later, the public has had plenty of exposure to the law and its effects—and if anything, it's less popular now than it was when it passed. That doesn't sound much like a winner to me.