Will Obamacare Ruling Swing Public Opinion? History Says It May
If Roe v. Wade is indicative, a high-profile Supreme Court decision can influence the public’s view of a controversial issue.
Democrats and Republicans are furiously trying to rally public opinion to their respective sides, following the Supreme Court ruling that largely upheld the Affordable Care Act as constitutional. The intense political maneuvering raises a key question: Does this sort of definitive legal decision influence voters’ views on the issue at hand?
One very high-profile example—the January 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which effectively legalized abortion—suggests the answer is yes. At least, that’s the conclusion of a recently published study, which finds the court’s action appears to have “boosted public support for abortion, at least in the short term.”
“The results of our exercise indicate that the Court is able to sweep opinion on its side, even in highly controversial areas it is deciding on for the first time,” a research team led by political scientist John Hanley of the University of California, Berkeley writes in the Political Research Quarterly.