Last week, I noted recent poll data suggesting that ObamaCare may hurt Democrats in this year's election despite promises from party leaders that public opinion would eventually come to favor the law. We won't find out whether that holds true until November, but new research from a team of political scientists indicates that voting for the health care law hurt Democrats significantly in 2010. The Washington Post's Sarah Kliff reports:

Brendan Nyhan, Eric McGhee, John Sides, Seth Masket and Steven Greene analyzed how Democratic supporters of the health reform law fared in the last round of House elections. They found that, on average, “the vote share of Democrats who supported health care reform was 5.8 points lower than that of the most comparable Democrats who opposed the bill.”

If those Democrats had voted against the law - and flipped that 5.8 percent in the opposite direction - the party would have netted 25 more seats. And that would have been enough to keep the Democrats in a majority.

As I said in my last post, negative public perception of the health care overhaul is arguably the GOP's biggest policy strength right now. Yet the part is on the path to nominating Mitt Romney, the candidate least well positioned to take advantage of the law's ongoing popularity problems.