Bad Political Medicine?
Many key voters still don't like the health care legislation.
9:00 AM, Jun 22, 2010 • By GARY ANDRES
More bad news emerged yesterday for those Democrats hoping support for health care reform might boost their electoral fortunes. The short answer: it won't. At least, not in certain pivotal states and not with swing voters.
This piece in the Wall Street Journal yesterday by David Brady, Daniel Kessler, and Douglas Rivers -- all from Stanford University -- outlines findings from a new poll done by YouGov/Polimetrix in eleven states in key Senate elections this November.
The survey reveals that support for health care has not budged much in these states since the legislation passed. But more importantly, the measures are still not very popular, nor are the lawmakers who voted for it.
Brady et. al. sum up the Democrats' tactical gambit this way:
After controlling for a host of political and demographic variables, the authors found that voters against health care created a substantial political benefit for GOP candidates.
In both January and May, opinion about reform had a statistically significant and electorally important impact on voters against the Democratic candidate for Senate. Voters who opposed health care reform were around 20 percentage points more likely to vote for the Republican candidate.
They also find a growing impact on House races over the past four months:
Not surprisingly, health care reform is most unpopular among self-identified Republicans, while it receives overwhelming support from Democrats. Yet the statistical model finds that even if these partisans changed their views on health care, it would not alter their vote preference.
Not so for independents in the states surveyed:
As Resurgent Republic and others have noted over the past year, support for Democrats among independent voters has eroded significantly compared to the last election cycle. This survey suggests health care reinforces that downward trajectory.
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