Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Just How Popular Is Build Back Better?

At The Liberal Patriot, John Halpin takes a sobering look at the Build Back Better bill and how popular it actually is.
"[E]xisting public opinion research on the package shows two-thirds overall support for the entire Build Back Better agenda—paid leave, universal pre-K, expanded Medicare, prescription drug negotiations, clean energy, and support for families with children....
But the reality in this hypothetical legislation is that the expanded Medicare provisions for dental, vision, and hearing coverage plus the prescription drug negotiations carry the bulk of the weight in terms of public support. As seen on the right side of this chart from Simon Bazelon and David Shor for Slow Boring, testing on individual items featured in the bill shows these two health care elements to be the most popular and politically potent ideas in the entire Democratic policy arsenal.
Yet, House members inexplicably removed the prescription drug benefit provision already and the cost of expanded Medicare is quite high and may not make it into a final package. If you remove these health care items or scale them back to meet political reality, is the package still widely popular?...
Generally, it doesn’t work to try to sell people a car that hasn’t been built yet. In this case, Biden and Democrats are trying to sell one that hasn’t even been designed yet. Is it a souped-up fancy truck or luxury vehicle with all the expensive bells and whistles, or is it a sensible family car that is safe and easy to maintain? Both vehicles can be appealing to Americans for different reasons.
But because the Democrats have pushed off the policy design choices until the last minute, we don’t know for certain how wide the audience is for their legislation or how best to promote it. In the meantime, it would make sense for Democrats to get back to the original vision of Build Back Better: security for all families and an American economy that is best in the world."
It's also interesting to note that, as shown by the latest Quinnipiac poll, the infrastructure bill is currently significantly more popular than the even the full BBB bill. This is particularly true among whites; they are +24 on the infrastructure bill but just +1 on the social spending (BBB) bill (among noncollege whites BBB is actually underwater at -3).

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