Polls Say: Democrats Risk a Midterm Beating Over Obamacare

Democrats appear to be in no position to buck the midterm thumping the party in power power usually suffers at the polls.


Democrats took brief refuge last week in a Gallup poll showing that Americans have a better—or, more accurately, less bad—opinion of their political party than of the Republican Party. Forty-four percent of respondents voiced a favorable opinion of the donkey party, compared to 34 percent for the elephants. Despite a host of scandals plaguing a Democratic president, and the unpopular specter of Obamacare hovering over the political landscape, the numbers seemed to suggest that Americans might just hold their nose and favor Democrats at the ballot box over Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections.

But a closer look suggests a very different outcome.

Congressional Democrats also polled better (read that as "less bad," once again) approval ratings than their Republican counterparts in a Politico Poll released today, but respondents still favored voting for GOP candidates in the midterms. Democrats get thumbs-up from 35 percent of respondents, compared to 31 percent of Republicans. But when asked how they would actually vote if the elections were held today, 41 percent of people tapped the Republican candidate, with 34 percent favoring the Democrat. Even the "don't knows," when pressed to answer, leaned GOP by 21 percent to 16 percent.

A Pew/USA Today Poll at the end of April found similar sentiments, with 47 percent of registered voters supporting or leaning Republican in the upcoming congressional races, while 43 percent favor the Democratic candidate.

To be sure, RealClearPolitics' running average of polls finds the midterms (still six months away, and so anybody's to lose) a toss-up.

For instance, a Fox News poll released last week gives Democrats the edge 43 percent to 40 percent, contradicting the Pew and Politico Polls. But the advantage in the Fox News poll flips to the GOP when results are limited to those with the greatest interest in the election and therefore, presumably, more likely to vote.

And, as the Pew write-up puts it, "the trend over the past six months in the so-called generic ballot shows that Democrats have lost ground. In October, Democrats held a six-point lead (49% to 43%) in midterm voting preferences."

The political party holding the White House often gets punished by the electorate in midterm elections, but Democrats may have a very specific albatross around their necks in 2014.

Eighty-nine percent of respondents to the Politico Poll said the Affordable Care Act health care law is "important" in determining their votes in December. They overwhelmingly wanted the law repealed (48 percent) or changed (35 percent).

A Kaiser tracking poll reveals that opposition to Obamacare has overwhelmed support for the law continuously since the begining of 2013.

Pew found opposition to the law holding at 55 percent—as high as it has ever been.

With the president, and his party, so closely associated with the trouble-plagued health care law, the Democrats appear to be in no position to buck the midterm thumping the party in power power usually suffers at the polls.

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  1. You can always count on some here at Reason to give a selective reading to polls in order to demonstrate the point they would like to make.

    Such as the Politico Poll, J.D. Thanks for selectively informing us of the importance of only the ACA. Of course, you did not want to inform anyone here of the actual reading of the poll. Yes, 48% favored repeal. Yet 51% wanted to keep the ACA…16% as is and 35% with modifications. Most Democrats I know favor modifications. But you ignore that most don’t want the law repealed…you would like to infer its the other way around.

    Even more importantly, J.D., you completely ignore how important other issues were that favor the Democrats, as well as the results in that Politico poll. Immigration reform, equal pay, gun control…all of these issues were similarly important to those who answered in the polls…you just didn’t like what they had to say on any of them.

    Gun control? 79% favored “stricter” background checks, and a measly 21% opposed it. And how important was just that one issue to those who responded? 75% said it was important.

    And why exactly, J.D., are those issues not a determining factor in who will vote, and how they will vote? I wonder why its your opinion that on the ACA matters.

    1. It’s too soon to get your panties in a wad.

      Wait until the people with employer supplied health insurance begin to get their notices.

      Attitudes will change.

      1. Yeah, there’s a reason for all of those delays.

        Also, I liked this:

        “Most Democrats I know favor modifications”

        Seriously, what are these modifications they want?

        1. Adding more unicorn farts to fix it.

          1. Start working at home with Google. It’s a great work at home opportunity. Just work for few hours. I earn up to $500 a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. http://www.Fox81.com

        2. Its easy to find those thoughts. Here is one from 6 Democrats:


        3. And I might add that those “delays” of which you speak were in fact modifications to the ACA. The fact remains that the poll was clear about the choice…repeal or keep. And keep won. If J.D. wanted to draw any conclusion from that poll, it might be more accurate to say that the GOP might want to get off the “repeal” mantra, and get on the “fix” mantra.

          1. 16%! That’s how many people think the current law is a good idea.

            16 fucking percent!

            1. In the Kaiser poll that J.D. himself cites, here were the numbers:

              58% wanted all to work to improve the law. Only 35% wanted it repealed, but even then wanted it replaced (guess the overwhelming opinion of Americans is that health care in the US wasn’t the “best system in the world.”) And that percentage roughly holds true for Independents.

              And contraceptive coverage? 61% liked that it was covered in the ACA, and only 32% were opposed.

              But those are opinions J.D. thinks are inconsequential.

    2. Any law that 48% favor repealing is, to use Obama’s words, a “stinkburger”. Any time you have more than a small fraction of the population unhappy with an idea or politician, it’s time for repeal or recall. Obamacare, and the most recent presidential administrations fit into that category.

    3. You..you actually think the issue of gun control works to the favor of the Democrats? Oh wow. You are in for a shock or two.

      1. Fine. Conclude that polls can’t tell you anything about an upcoming election. Tell that to J.D.

        1. I have some bad news for you: the polls are meaningless for midterms. All that matters is ‘who has the energy to mobilize and vote’. Those people are gun rights advocates and Obamacare-haters. Sad for you.

          1. Sorry, but its not bad news for me…I didn’t make any predictions or hints at predictions about the mid-terms based on polls. That would be J.D.

  2. “You can always count on some here at Reason to give a selective reading to polls in order to demonstrate the point they would like to make.”

    Good thing that doesn’t happen anywhere else! Why, if that sort of (Krugman) behavior were to spread!… Pretty soon it (Hannity) would be everywhere!…

  3. Community organizers are not, apparently, managers.

    1. And apparently are traitors.

  4. Common Sense and Experience say: The establishment Republicans still have plenty of time to destroy any advantage their party may have at this time.

    1. Unfortunately, this is true. The old guard in the GOP are so focused on remaining in power that they can’t see that their “conservative” (Yegods I hate that word!) agenda won’t cut it either. A return to limited government is the only thing they have that will excite enough of the middle to take the prize, otherwise, it’s another Clinton administration.

      1. Focused on a conservative agenda? Boner and his cronies are focused on anything BUT a conservative agenda. I only wish they were.

        1. I didn’t say they were focused on a conservative agenda, but rather staying in power while claiming to be conservative.

  5. This can’t be Suderderp told me that the shutdown was going to End The GOP Forever.

    1. Well it’s like cancer you know.

  6. Alert!!! Alert!!! Alert!!
    From Democrat Headquarters: All democrats and supporters here and abroad, we must flood the media with hysterical Benghazi & global warming alarms to take the heat off Dem candidates in the November 2014 and 2016 elections due to the train wreck of Obamacare! Shout, scream, cry, make outlandish claims and don’t stop till after the elections!!
    Alert!!! Alert!!! Alert!!!

  7. Either the Koch bros are telling Reason to get with the program, or the supposedly disinterested Libertarian types are hoping for a promised GOP resurgence this fall. It’s all well and good hoping that Democrap voter turnout is unusually bad, but I’m afraid that the GOP is just too good at getting its ass kicked when the Dems start bussing their apathetic but otherwise reliable morons to the polls. The GOP just can’t dish out the gimmes the way the Dems can.

    1. There week always be a Rick Santorum in the GOP to make the masses hate them.

      1. This is true.

  8. Collectivism,
    our feelings know it’s true
    Obummer gives us free shit,
    and Bernanke too

    our erudition wide!
    Fiat dollarz, welfare, and open
    borders for all time

    1. Roses are red,
      And violets are blue.
      Collectivism sucks,
      And Obama does, too.

  9. I see many Libertarians give in to the two party system. The way they talk is as if they want Republicans to win. Lesser of two evils, you might say.

    Fine. Play that game if you want. I’ll continue to search for the candidate that best matches my beliefs, regardless of party.

    1. It is not lesser of two evils, but divided government many want. Having the opposing party in control of both houses would be great to limit the president. I wanted the same thing when Bush was around.

  10. “Democrats Risk a Midterm Beating Over Obamacare”

    Oh yeah?.the “American People” are really, really upset. They elected this skinny little Marxist and observed him get the healthcare system he wanted. That upset them so much, they re-elected him.

    Yeah, they’re all of a sudden going to dump leftism and go for freedom and liberty. You freak’n Democrats have absolutely nothing to worry about.

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