Voters in 2 of North Carolina's most competitive Congressional districts- the 2nd represented by Bob Etheridge and the 11th by Heath Shuler- are strongly opposed to the health care bill being debated in Congress right now, showing again the tough politics of this issue for Democratic officials.
Etheridge and Shuler both have to decide between voting the way that folks in their party would like them to, or voting the way voters in their district as a whole would like them to. In Etheridge's district 59% of Democrats support the bill to 29% opposed. But 90% of Republicans and 68% of independents are opposed, making the overall numbers 53% opposed to 37% in support. It's a similar story for Shuler. In his district 60% of Democrats are supportive to 32% opposed. But 90% of Republicans and 60% of independents are opposed, making the overall numbers 57% opposed to 35% in support.
In both districts voters are concerned that the bill will increase health care costs while decreasing health care quality. 56% of voters in each think health care will become more expensive if the bill is passed, while just 29% in Etheridge's and 27% in Shuler's think it will make health care cheaper. 55% of Shuler's constituents and 54% of Etheridge's think it will reduce the quality of health care while only 27% and 24% respectively think it will improve the quality of care.
Whether those perceptions about the impact the health care bill will have are true or not is debatable, and we may not really know the answer unless it's enacted and we see the impact. But it does make it clear that Republicans have won the messaging battle on this by a wide margin in these two districts. It'll be interesting to see if either Etheridge or Shuler changes his vote from the first time around.
Full results here