Poll: GOP Says Obamacare Will Be Key to 2014 Elections; Democrats Aren’t So Sure

Tea Party member Janis Haddon of Atlanta, Georgia, tries to fend off Obamacare supporter Yasemin Ayarci (L) of Levittown, Pennsylvania, as Ayarci counter protests a Tea Party rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court of March 27, 2012 in Washington, DC. The Supreme Court continued to hear oral arguments on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
National Journal
Catherine Hollander
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Catherine Hollander
Oct. 18, 2013, 6:41 a.m.

They may not have got­ten many con­ces­sions on Obama­care dur­ing the latest fisc­al fight, but Re­pub­lic­ans be­lieve they’ll have an­oth­er chance to make their case on the health-re­form law in the 2014 elec­tions. Demo­crats aren’t so sure.

Sev­enty-one per­cent of the GOP in­siders sur­veyed by Na­tion­al Journ­al this week said the is­sue would be “very im­port­ant” in the com­ing elec­tions. “Even low-in­form­a­tion voters will have figured out what an ab­om­in­a­tion it is by then,” said one.

Just 2 per­cent of Re­pub­lic­ans sur­veyed said it was “not im­port­ant,” and the rest were in between.

Demo­crats were much less likely to be­lieve the suc­cess or trav­ails of the law’s first year would be the key is­sue for voters. Just 32 per­cent thought it would be “very im­port­ant” in the com­ing fight, and 12 per­cent said it wouldn’t be im­port­ant at all. The ma­jor­ity said it was “some­what im­port­ant.” In com­ments, they offered a com­mon caveat: It de­pends on wheth­er the glitches that have plagued the law’s rol­lout since Oct. 1 are fixed, and how quickly.

“If it goes well, it will only be a base is­sue for Re­pub­lic­ans,” said one Demo­crat. “If it goes poorly, as it has so far, it will be a ser­i­ous is­sue.”

Obama­care’s rocky rol­lout got a break from front-page head­lines this week as a fed­er­al gov­ern­ment shut­down dragged on and a na­tion­al de­fault loomed. Dur­ing those un­cer­tain fisc­al times, it was tempt­ing to re­min­isce about the past, and Na­tion­al Journ­al also asked in­siders who had been the most ef­fect­ive pres­id­ent in the past 30 years.

Demo­crats over­whelm­ingly — 75 per­cent — named Bill Clin­ton (“In­tel­li­gence, cha­risma and a good eco­nomy, stu­pid,” said one). Re­pub­lic­ans even more over­whelm­ingly — 89 per­cent — poin­ted to Ron­ald Re­agan (“Turn­ing around the eco­nomy, de­feat­ing com­mun­ism, restor­ing faith in the fu­ture — these are not small things.”)

See full poll res­ults here.

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