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Affordable Care Act supporters at an anti-repeal rally in Los Angeles in March 2017. Photo: Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Activism and political protest is on the rise on the left in the U.S., and support for the Affordable Care Act is one of the biggest issues motivating the protesters, according to the latest survey on activism and protest by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Washington Post.

Why it matters: It's a reversal from the last election cycle, when public opinion about the ACA was more negative than positive and Tea Party protests against the ACA were commonplace. It's clear that the political energy in health is switching from right to left.

The majority of those who have rallied or protested about the ACA over the past two years say they plan to be politically active over the next year. But they're not single-minded ACA activists. Most are critical of President Trump and they have a number of interconnected issues on their minds, including the ACA.

The numbers that matter: In our survey, we found that about 50 million adults said they had gone to a rally or protest to express their views in the past two years, with about 14 million saying the ACA was a reason they were rallying. That's about 28%, similar to the shares who said the same about the environment and energy issues (32%) and immigration (30%), but behind women’s rights (46%).

The vast majority (85%) of those who say they rallied, in part, about the ACA were coming out to support the law.  We conducted the survey in January and February, before the recent marches on gun violence.

People who name the ACA as a reason for their activism were more likely to say they will vote in the midterms than people who didn't go to rallies (90% vs. 57%), but it’s not so much their voting power that may matter as their personal participation in the political process. They skew older, higher income, and Democratic, and most would likely have voted anyway.

The details:

  • 70% of those who attended rallies are anti-Trump; 30% approve of him.
  • Those turning out about the ACA were about twice as likely as those who turned out on other issues to say they plan to volunteer or work in a 2018 election campaign.
  • Activism on behalf of the ACA was not a rejection of single payer. Most demonstrators support both.  

The big picture: At a time when trust in institutions is declining and many say we are wallowing in a “post-truth” society, rather than turn off and tune out, large numbers of citizens are seeing a virtue in getting out of their homes to participate in the democratic process.  

Go deeper

After walkout, Activision Blizzard employees vow to keep fighting

Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Organizers of a Wednesday walkout at Activision Blizzard, the gaming company behind "Call of Duty" and "World of Warcraft," are saying the demonstration "is not a one-time event that our leaders can ignore.”

Why it matters: Within the video game industry, sweeping promises for change are often followed by a handful of half-measures that fail to solve the systematic problems that caused them.

Scoop: Trump team blames conservative for loser endorsement

Donald Trump at rally in Texas. Photo: Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Donald Trump's advisers are angry at David McIntosh, president of the conservative Club for Growth, for persuading the former president to endorse a losing candidate in the special election for Texas' 6th District.

Why it matters: Susan Wright's defeat Tuesday in a Republican runoff with Navy veteran Jake Ellzey dealt a blow to Trump's aura of invincibility as a Republican kingmaker. It's critical to his 2022 midterm endorsements and continued hold on the GOP.

DOJ: State audits of 2020 election could violate federal law

Photo: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Justice Department on Wednesday issued a second warning to states that so-called audits of the 2020 election could violate federal laws, emphasizing the agency's intent to protect voting rights.

Why it matters: Several counties and states across the U.S. have completed or considered audits amid former President Trump's baseless claims of widespread election fraud.