Last month’s healthcare fiasco was, without question, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s baby. He fought for it, promoted it, inexplicably rushed it to the floor, did everything he could to corral reluctant legislators. Heck, there are reports that he was down on his knees begging congressmen to vote for it. It didn’t work. In the end, all he could do was looked on as it collapsed.
Now, according to Gallup, his favorability numbers have done the same.
Virtually every news outlet is blaming the decline on the bill’s failure to pass. They’re all wrong, and we’ll get to why they’re wrong in a moment. First, the data:
Amid the collapse of the Affordable Care Act repeal in the U.S. House of Representatives, Paul Ryan’s image is taking a hit—39% of Americans have a favorable opinion of the House speaker, down nine percentage points from November. Ryan’s unfavorable rating has increased 12 points, and his image is more negative than positive for the first time since Gallup first asked about him in 2012.
By any measure, that’s a pretty severe drop - especially for a guy who has always enjoyed strong polling.
As I said before, most of the media is blaming the fall on his bill’s failure to pass. I disagree. I submit that the damage is due to the quality of the bill he put forward, the ridiculous push to get a vote, and the absurd way he handled the post-vote optics.
Let’s take a walk down memory lane.
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