John Dickerson reports on Slate.com that Democrats are preparing for “more bad news” about Obamacare:
The political damage to Democrats has been growing since the healthcare.gov debacle started. In the generic ballot poll—the crude but talismanic survey question used to test the relative health of the two parties—Republicans have closed a seven-point deficit they had after the government shutdown. Republicans are now ever so slightly favored over Democrats—42 to 41—in the average of polls.
This shift is worrying to Democrats. Members of Congress and party strategists believe their problem is not just the broken promises and issues created by the site but also their party’s slow response time. Democrats were caught flat-footed on the expiration of the promise that if you like your insurance, you can keep it. Voters wanted to see them on the case, trying to fix the situation. By the time the president apologized and then offered a “fix” that allowed insurance companies to permit people to keep their plans, the political damage had already been done.
Meanwhile, over at the National Journal, Sam Baker reports on the key metric: the blood pressure of Congressional Democrats:
The biggest test for Sunday’s HealthCare.gov deadline isn’t the number of people who can use the site or how quickly the pages load for them. It’s whether Democrats start to calm down. . .
“There’s a window here; I’m not quite sure how long it is. The Democratic leaders have given the White House some space to try to work out these kinks,” says Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist and former spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. . .
Public approval of the health care law—upside-down since it passed—has only gotten worse amid the botched website rollout. That has vulnerable Democrats scrambling for ways to show their constituents they’re trying to fix the law.
“You need to explain what you’re trying to fix, and you’d better be trying to fix something. If there’s nothing you want to fix, there’s something wrong with you,” Democratic pollster Mark Mellman told National Journal.