SPOTLIGHT

The White Education Split on Obamacare

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 09: U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) (R) speaks at a press conference highlighting how veterans are being impacted by the government shutdown with (L-R) Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) at the U.S. Capitol October 9, 2013 in Washington, DC. During the event, Tester and others discussed how critical veterans services are being affected by the shutdown. 
National Journal
Scott Bland
April 11, 2014, 7:40 a.m.

The clearest di­vid­ing line on how people think about the Obama­care right now is between col­lege- and non-col­lege-edu­cated white voters, a key dis­tinc­tion as one red-state Demo­crat­ic group goes on the air with TV ads de­fend­ing the law as strongly as any spots in four years.

— In new data from the Pew Re­search Cen­ter, Obama­care ap­prov­al only nar­rowly trails dis­ap­prov­al among col­lege whites, 42%-49%. But that gap be­comes a chasm among non-col­lege whites (22%-66%). And while col­lege whites split 31%-33% on wheth­er the law will af­fect their fam­il­ies pos­it­ively or neg­at­ively in the fu­ture, non-col­lege whites em­phat­ic­ally re­ject the pos­sib­il­ity that it will help (17%-48%).

— That sets up very dif­fer­ent fights over the law in, say, Col­or­ado and New Hamp­shire (where re­cent exit polls put col­lege whites at over half the elect­or­ate) versus red states like Arkan­sas or Montana (or Ken­tucky, where the state health ex­change has per­formed well) where there have been non-col­lege white ma­jor­it­ies of voters.

— That makes the latest TV ad out in Alaska par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing: The pro-Mark Be­gich su­per PAC there is fea­tur­ing a wo­man can­cer sur­viv­or who says that after be­ing denied cov­er­age by in­sur­ance com­pan­ies, “I now have health in­sur­ance again, be­cause of Mark Be­gich.” Per­son­al­iz­ing the is­sue, which re­search demon­strates to work bet­ter than stat­ist­ics, looks like a stab at “show­ing, not telling” people that Obama­care could af­fect them pos­it­ively in the fu­ture.

Among non-col­lege whites, at least, there’s really no where for Demo­crats to go on Obama­care but up. Wheth­er that rep­res­ents an op­por­tun­ity to mes­sage to them in new ways, or a harsh real­ity ahead of Novem­ber, re­mains to be seen.
— Scott Bland

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