By Jack Fowler
I’m just getting around to sharing some thoughts on this recent poll (which seems to have been largely overlooked) conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for Independent Women’s Voice (run by NRO friend Heather Higgins) on the impact the Affordable Care Act may have among likely voters in 43 Congressional “swing” districts (as designated by the Cook Political Report). The numbers are so interesting that, better late than never, they’re quite worth sharing.
Republicans might take some comfort from the generic ballot question (asked of 1,000 likely voters) — “If the election for U.S. Congress were being held today, for whom would you vote, the Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate for Congress from this district?” — The GOP leads 42 percent to 36 percent on average, as well as in every district type (“Leans GOP”: 43 percent Republican to 33 percent Democrat; “Toss Up”: GOP leads 42 percent to 35 percent; and “Leans Dem”: GOP is ahead 40 percent to 39 percent).
But the point of the survey is assessing Obamacare’s fallout, and if these numbers are valid, it has indeed fallen out: There is majority opposition to the ACA, and as regards the intensity, the strong opposition to strong support ratio is 1.8 to 1. In all swing districts, even in those labeled “Leans Dem,” voters strongly opposed to Obamacare dwarf those who strongly support it (this doesn’t apply only to geography — all age groups, especially seniors, show big negatives for the ACA).
Asked “How important of an issue will the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, be in deciding who you will vote for in November?” voters broke down like this:
Of the 9 percent who say the ACA will be the “most important” issue in the voting booth, 70 percent are Obamacare foes.
Of the 39 percent who find it a “very important” voting issue, 67 percent are foes
“Somewhat important” make up 32 percent of swing-district likely voters: of them 51 percent are ACA foes to 47 percent supporters
Just 8 percent of voters say the issue is “not at all important” to them — this segment breaks 70 percent ACA-friendly to 17 percent foes.
The takeaway here is that in swing districts, Obamacare 1) matters to a lot of voters, 2) in a way that is either intense or approaching intense, and 3) at this point the votes are projected to break decidedly in the favor of ACA foes, which 4) should come as good news to Republican campaigns, especially to 5) those campaigns which make health-care reform a major theme.
The survey also has a ton of other useful information on attitudes towards ACA’s real impact on people. The picture it paints isn’t pretty. It’s still worth looking at.