This week and next, Americans go to the polls to register their votes on a wide range of issues. President Obama is not on the ballot but even he admits this election is about his policies. None has been more consistently unpopular than ObamaCare.
In over 156 consecutive polls since President Obama’s second term in office began, Americans have consistently disapproved of his signature healthcare legislation. Not one poll has shown a majority in favor of the law. How will this impact the mid-term elections this week?
The most critical issue in this election is the balance of power in the U.S. Senate. Democrats currently hold 55 seats and Republicans hold 45 seats. If Republicans gain a net six seats, they will control the Senate. If this change takes place, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will lose his place as the second most powerful man in our government – and Congress may once again become relevant.
Therefore, all eyes are fixed upon those Senators running for re-election, especially those from red-states that were won by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the 2012 elections. Three of these states, South Dakota, Montana, and West Virginia are considered a lock for a Republican victory. Three others, Arkansas, Alaska, and Louisiana are looking more likely to be Republican victories, too. Republicans also have a fighting chance in North Carolina, Georgia, and Colorado. Any win in these three states will balance any losses in defending their own Senators for re-election in Kentucky, Kansas, and Georgia. There is even an improving possibility of an unexpected win in New Hampshire.
ObamaCare As An Election Issue
Some Democratic Senators from these critical swing states, like North Carolina and Colorado, came out early in favor of ObamaCare. Senator Kay Hagan (N.C.) said in February she wanted to show the ACA “is something whose time is come.” Colorado Senator Mark Udall said “we did the right thing” in passing the law and told voters he “would do it again”. This response was echoed by Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor and Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu.
However, despite the relative quiet in the media on the issue of ObamaCare, people have not forgotten their distaste for the law. Karl Rove reports in The Wall Street Journal that a Gallop Poll shows 54% of Americans said the ACA had hurt them and their families compared to 27% who said it had helped them. Jeffrey H. Anderson, in The Weekly Standard, says a poll from Public Opinion Strategies found that likely voters in battleground districts who consider ObamaCare to be the “most important” issue oppose it by the overwhelming tally of 70 to 30 percent.
Likely voters who consider ObamaCare to be a “very important” issue (but not the “most important”one), oppose it by more than 2 to 1 – 67 to 32 percent. Those who consider it to be “somewhat important” somewhat like it – but still oppose it by 51 to 47 percent. Only those who consider it to be “not at all important” love it – favoring it by 70 to 17 percent.
The White House knows the public’s disapproval of ObamaCare and intentionally pushed back the second open enrollment period from October 1, as it was last year, to November 15, just after the elections. But the bad news about ObamaCare is coming anyway as millions are learning their premiums and deductibles are increasing next year – and many will again lose their policies and their doctors altogether.
A Manhattan Institute report reveals premiums for a 40 year-old man are rising in 10 of the 12 states with Democratic-held Senate seats at risk. For a 40 year-old woman, premiums will increase in nine of the 12. Most premium increases will be in double digits. Even these increases are artificially lower than they would be if not for the “3 Rs”, the insurance industry bailout provisions of the law that are keeping rates down until 2017.
Cancellation notices are going out now for those whose policies will not be compliant with the law beginning in 2015. Last year about 6.2 million Americans received such cancellation notices. In Colorado, the insurance commissioner recently announced that 28,911 people covered by 22,000 policies would lose their insurance at year’s end. This is in addition to 8,200 policies canceled or marked for cancellation earlier this year. Added to last year’s terminations, this means as many as 340,000 Coloradans have lost or will lose their plan, even if they like it. Multiply these numbers by 50 states and you have a lot of people upset with cancelled insurance policies.
So it’s no surprise when the latest Fox News poll on October 14 revealed 52% of Americans believe ObamaCare is “mostly a bad thing for the country” while only 40% believe it is “mostly a good thing.” Even women, despite the Democratic claims of a “war on women”, believe ObamaCare is a bad thing by a 46% to 45% margin.
Democratic Failures Abound
There are plenty of other reasons for people to be concerned about returning Democrats to elected office. Among them are the weak economy, the poor job market, the botched “Fast and Furious” gun-running program, the VA scandal, the IRS targeting of conservatives, the Benghazi cover-up, and the recent mishandling of the Ebola virus patients. But ObamaCare has especially fired up Republicans and Independents concerned with government growth and overreach.
Rove points out the uniqueness of ObamaCare and why it remains the pivotal issue in this election:
“Democrats created ObamaCare, passed it (without a single Republican vote), own it, and will suffer because of it. The holy grail of liberalism for decades, the president’s health law may end up as a decisive cause of two epic midterm defeats for the Democratic Party.”