A lesson from Obamacare for Brexit: details of abolition can make something much more popular

For years, Republicans railed against President Obama’s healthcare reforms (‘Obamacare‘) and public opinion was against it. From 2010 through to the 2016 US Presidential election, there were consistently more people disapproving than approving of Obamacare. Disapprove was always at least five points ahead of approve on the Real Clear Politics rolling polling average, for example, and even peaked several times at more than fifteen points ahead.

But then there was a remarkable swing in a short period of time. From a steady disapprove lead of nine points or so through May, June, July, August, September and October 2016, there was a sharp and sustained shift towards approval of Obamacare. For the last three months indeed – and for the first time ever – consistently more people approved of it than disapproved of it.

And when did this shift start? When in November 2016 Donald Trump stopped talking about abolishing Obamacare and started dealing with the details of how abolition would be done. The more the details of axing it were talked about, the more popular it became.

A lesson for Brexit perhaps…


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