Let’s stipulate that Obamacare, barring a dramatic reversal in the next 11 months, will be a difficult issue for Democrats in 2014. The most pertinent questions then become: To what extent, and how? What groups of swing voters will turn against Democratic candidates in 2014? New data provided by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which conducts a well-regarded monthly poll on the Affordable Care Act, suggests the party should worry most about white women.
— Half of blue-collar white women surveyed in November were “very unfavorable” about the law, while just 16% of them either regard it “very favorably” or “somewhat favorably.” And the discrepancy has grown worse since the October rollout of the law, which brought a cascade of problems and negative media reaction. In October, 40% of the women without a college degree had a “very unfavorable” view of the law, while 27% of them had an overall favorable view.
— Meanwhile, half of white women with a college degree don’t like what they see from Obamacare either, the poll found. That’s a dangerous sign for Democrats, because that’s one of the few groups of white voters with whom they still perform reasonably well. President Obama, for instance, won 46% of them in 2012 — and he underperformed relative to recent Democratic presidential candidates.
— The real problem for Democrats during next year’s midterms, of course, is they need strong white female support to survive Senate reelection fights in overwhelming white states like Alaska, Arkansas and Louisiana. The data suggest that the party’s candidates face an uphill climb on that front.
Democrats insist that they can still win the Obamacare argument by highlighting their attempts to fix the law rather than repeal. The idea has merit, but the law’s deepening unpopularity puts them at a disadvantage from the get-go. And, as the Kaiser poll shows, that’s especially true with a key part of their political coalition.
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Just after President Obama finished his address to the DNC, Hillary Clinton walked out on stage to join him, so the better could share a few embraces, wave to the crowd—and let the cameras capture all the unity for posterity.
In a speech that began a bit like a State of the Union address, President Obama said the "country is stronger and more prosperous than it was" when he took office eight years ago. He then talked of battling Hillary Clinton for the nomination in 2008, and discovering her "unbelievable work ethic," before saying that no one—"not me, not Bill"—has ever been more qualified to be president. When his first mention of Donald Trump drew boos, he quickly admonished the crowd: "Don't boo. Vote." He then added that Trump is "not really a plans guy. Not really a facts guy, either."
Tim Kaine introduced himself to the nation tonight, devoting roughly the first half of his speech to his own story (peppered with a little of his fluent Spanish) before pivoting to Hillary Clinton—and her opponent. "Hillary Clinton has a passion for children and families," he said. "Donald Trump has a passion, too: himself." His most personal line came after noting that his son Nat just deployed with his Marine battalion. "I trust Hillary Clinton with our son's life," he said.
Michael Bloomberg said he wasn't appearing to endorse any party or agenda. He was merely there to support Hillary Clinton. "I don't believe that either party has a monopoly on good ideas or strong leadership," he said, before enumerating how he disagreed with both the GOP and his audience in Philadelphia. "Too many Republicans wrongly blame immigrants for our problems, and they stand in the way of action on climate change and gun violence," he said. "Meanwhile, many Democrats wrongly blame the private sector for our problems, and they stand in the way of action on education reform and deficit reduction." Calling Donald Trump a "dangerous demagogue," he said, "I'm a New Yorker, and a know a con when I see one."
Vice President Biden tonight called President Obama "one of the finest presidents we have ever had" before launching into a passionate defense of Hillary Clinton. "Everybody knows she's smart. Everybody knows she's tough. But I know what she's passionate about," he said. "There's only one person in this race who will help you. ... It's not just who she is; it's her life story." But he paused to train some fire on her opponent "That's not Donald Trump's story," he said. "His cynicism is unbounded. ... No major party nominee in the history of this country has ever known less."