Rick Scott and Obamacare

Rick Scott's big decision: the beginning of the end of the fight against Obamacare.

The Times has a front-pager today on Scott and other big-state GOP governors (in Arizona, Ohio, Michigan, etc.) accepting Obamacare and agreeing to cover people with Medicaid funds. Jon Chait had a great take on Scott himself yesterday, under a provocative headline asserting that Scott had just dealt the death-blow to Obamacare repeal.

This is because Scott is the governor of a huge state with loads of old people; because he called Obamacare an evil job-killer about fifty gajillion times; because he's a former health-care exec (albeit a badly sullied one) who could speak to all this with some presumed knowledge; and because he's a Tea Party guy, although perhaps not anymore.

Scott made the decision he made in part because it's the sensible one substantively--turning down nearly $3 billion in federal money because it's going to turn people into moochers is rather insane. But look! Here's another reason:

Scott's approval rating is just 33%, with 57% of voters disapproving of him. Scott's numbers had gradually improved over the course of 2012, but these numbers represent a regression from early November when he was at a 37/48 spread. Scott meets with near universal disapproval from Democrats (21/71) and independents (32/64) and is even on pretty shaky ground with Republicans (49/38).

Crist meanwhile is being embraced by Democrats. His favorability rating with them is 70/16. That's a big improvement from early September when it was just 44/33. The party's unified around him since his official switch last month. 52% of Democratic primary voters say they'd like for Crist to be their candidate for Governor next year, compared to 18% for Alex Sink, 13% for Pam Iorio, 4% for Buddy Dyer, and 1% for Nan Rich.

Crist would start out as the favorite in a showdown with Scott. He leads 53-39, most notably taking a whooping 29% of the Republican vote. He still has some residual appeal to Republican voters. Crist isn't the only Democrat who could give Scott trouble for reelection though.

Here's where all the states stand as of now. Only 12 have completely opted out. Hey! Guess in which region of the country we find eight of those states? So in about three years' time, we'll have some points of comparison. The reach and quality of health care in, say, Arkansas (which has opted in!) versus Alabama. The costs of premiums. The number of children covered, the number of people making below $25,000 a year covered, and so on and so on. And the comparisons will show what they've shown since the beginning of the republic, that the real moocher class is down South. But meanwhile, we are going to have Obamacare, and we are going to have universal health care in this country some day.