The Court’s perceived stamp of approval for the ACA led some Americans to switch their minds about it, leading to a small increase in approval of the law following the decision. Some of this opinion transformation might simply have come from the favorable media attention heaped on the law as a “winner” at the Court. In other words, the Court’s upholding of the law sent a signal that it was objectively good policy. For still others, the decision provided an opportunity for elite discussion and persuasion, instituted in particular by the President, who either convinced them on the law’s merits or triggered their latent approval for him by expressing new-found support for the law. In other words, precisely because the decision clearly defined the political stakes and discussion surrounding it became more politically polarized, support for the Act (which had lagged presidential approval) now became
more closely correlated with it.
From a new paper (pdf) by Andrea Campbell and Nathaniel Persily. Of course, amidst a presidential campaign, this subject might feel like old news. But really understanding the impact of the Court’s ruling can’t be accomplished within a news cycle. This paper is a nice, and still rather timely, review of the evidence.