(Sam Graves sells out children to stand with the lame duck president. – promoted by –Blue Girl)

There have been any number of demonstrations for SCHIP here in Kansas City, all of them aimed straight at Sam Graves. Sam has announced that despite the protests the President has shown him the SCHIP cliff and he is going to jump off like a good little lemming.

I guess the Republicans think that if people just hear their “best arguments” for opposing SCHIP expansion the people are going to agree with the decider. 

Sorry Republicans but according to the very latest NPR/Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health poll not even your “best” arguments move the public.

More after the break.

Given the basic parameters of the expansion – its cost, the number of new children who would be covered, and how it would be paid for- seven in ten Americans say they back the plan. This asking was followed by a version of the question that provided proponents’ and opponents’ strongest arguments. Even when presented with these pros and cons, support stays at 65 percent.

Though the partisan divide on SCHIP is certainly large, there is a good deal more bipartisanship here than on issues such as Iraq. Democrats overwhelmingly favor the reauthorization: 82 percent before hearing the pro and con arguments, and 80 percent even after hearing them. Tilting the issue toward the bill’s proponents, Independents also weigh in with majority support: 69 percent would back it (dropping only 3 points after hearing the arguments). Instead of being the usual mirrorimage of Democrats, Republicans are very divided on the SCHIP issue: a narrow majority (54 percent) say they support the expansion when asked a straight up or down question, while 41 percent are opposed. This narrow divide deepens a bit – to 47 percent support, 45 percent oppose – after hearing the arguments on both sides.

You will notice that even when most favorably explained the Republican position is a loser even among Republicans. At best the Republican talking points change a very few minds. 

The poll gets worse for the Republicans. Again from the summary.

Note that only half of Americans say they have heard at least some of the news about the ongoing SCHIP debates, with half the country not paying attention. Those who have heard little or nothing about the program are as likely to back its expansion as those who say they have heard at least some news about the issue.

How do concerns about the expansion resonate?

As they attempt to negotiate the rhetoric on both sides of this issue, Americans are more concerned about poor children who need health insurance not getting it than about middle class kids inappropriately getting benefits. Overall, 55 percent say they worry that the law won’t go far enough and some children who need insurance won’t get it, compared to 33 percent who worry the law will go too far and provide benefits to some whose families could otherwise afford it. The results are nearly identical when the former concern is matched against a crowd-out argument: 54 percent are more worried the law won’t go far enough in covering children, while 37 percent worry it will go too far, causing some families to drop their private health insurance.

Read the whole summary. The SCHIP veto isn’t just a winner for Democrats, it is a major disaster for Republicans. Sam, you are running against the best funded and most popular opponent of your career, Kay Barnes, who really knows how to run a campaign, your district is filled with social conservatives, not fiscal conservatives, and you have elected to support a deeply unpopular President who has vetoed the wrong bill to make the wrong point, a bill wildly supported by your constituents. Too bad, so sad. Nice career while it lasted.

Cross Posted from Watching Those We Chose.