Americans’ opinions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) remain divided, much as they have since the law was passed. This month, 41 percent say they have a favorable view of the law, while 43 percent have an unfavorable view. Support for the law continues to be divided along party lines, with most Democrats holding a favorable view (65 percent) and most Republicans an unfavorable view (76 percent). After reaching a high in August, the share of Republicans with a favorable view of the law dropped from 24 percent down to 14 percent this month, possibly as a result of the criticism of the ACA from Republican candidates in the presidential primary campaign.Overall, about a third of the public expects the law won’t make much difference for them and their families (34 percent), while a similar share (32 percent) expects to be worse off under the law and nearly as many expect to be better off (27 percent). The public is similarly divided on whether the country will be better off (38 percent) or worse off (36 percent), while one in six (18 percent) expect no difference for the country. And as has been the case since the beginning of this year, more than half (52 percent) want Congress to keep the law as is (19 percent) or expand it (33 percent), while fewer than four in ten (37 percent) want it repealed and replaced with a Republican‐sponsored alternative (16 percent) or repealed outright (21 percent).
In any case, the candidate who is benefiting most from the issue is Herman Cain, who won a surprise victory in a straw poll in Florida. During this week's debate, he had noteworthy moment when describing his own battle with cancer:
Indeed, health care launched Cain's political fortunes. In March, Joshua Green wrote of the moment when Cain became a national political figure:
His entrance into national politics was a fluke—albeit, if he runs, an enormously beneficial one. In 1994, Cain, then still CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, participated in a town-hall meeting that Bill Clinton held to drum up support for his flagging health-care plan. He challenged the president’s claim that restaurateurs would bear only a marginal new cost. Clinton objected, but Cain wouldn’t relent. “I’d had my financial people run the numbers,” he told me. The Wall Street Journal published them, and after Clinton’s plan collapsed, Newsweek identified Cain as one of its “saboteurs”—a badge of honor, especially among conservatives today.