Monday, March 22, 2010

Political Fallout of the Health Care Vote

There was a lot of interest in the last week over which individual members of Congress in vulnerable districts would be given 'permission' to vote against health care and which other ones would have to 'walk the plank' by voting for it. But polls we conducted in a couple of key North Carolina districts last week indicated that Democratic members of Congress may be held responsible for the bill regardless of how they voted for it personally.

In both Bob Etheridge and Heath Shuler's districts we asked whether voters would be more or less likely to vote for their representative if they supported the bill, then whether they would be more or less likely to vote for their representative if the bill passed regardless of how their actual representative voted.

In Etheridge's district 47% of voters said they'd be less likely to vote for him this fall if he supported the bill. And 47% said they'd be less likely to vote for him this fall if the Democrats in Congress passed the bill, regardless of how Etheridge himself voted.

It's a pretty similar story in Shuler's district. 51% of voters said they'd be less likely to vote for him this fall if he was a 'yes' vote.' But 46% also said they'd be less likely to vote for Shuler this fall if the bill passed, whether it did so with his support or not.

If voters are mad about Democrats passing the health care bill, they're likely to take it out on Democratic members of Congress regardless of how they actually voted. The conventional wisdom may be that it was good politics for Democrats to vote no, but they may find an unenthusiastic base and little gratefulness from Republicans and conservative leaning independents since their no votes didn't end up making a difference. I have no doubt the health care bill is unpopular, but I think its political fallout for Democrats is more complicated than saying the ones who voted for it are in big trouble and the ones who voted no are less so.


PNC said...

I'd like to add that Democrats who didn't vote for Obamacare can still be blamed for it, because they enabled Pelosi to become Speaker and set the House's agenda in the first place.

Anonymous said...

A vote in favor of Obamacare or not, Democrats, in general, are in for a real butt whoopin coming this next November. With the exception of but a few, the vast majority of Democrats within shouting distance of the bill can kiss their political careers goodbye. Obama, Pelosi, Reid and gang may well have won this round (with the passing of their healthcare bill), but woe is me, as there will be one hell of a price to be paid for it. And I strongly suspect that the Democrats will be paying for it, well beyond this November - and most likely thru 2012.

Anonymous said...

Incorrect, Anonymous above. The immediate effect of the passing of the health care has given a 48% to 40% support to Democrats and the bill with confidence in Democrats being substantially higher than Congressional GOPs. Those in trouble this November are probably not the GOP but rather those Democrats that voted NO. As the conditions of the bill come into effect, it is substantially more likely that the Democrats will be rewarded, especially if the GOP runs their campaigns on repealing the bill.

gemimail said...

Speaking of health care fallout, why not poll FL-19 since the election is in two weeks? The district has a senior citizen population that is 32.8% of the adult population. According to the Mason-Dixon poll those seniors oppose Obama Care 65-25 in Florida. Seems like this could be another Scott Brown type race. For details, see: for why Reps could squeak out a victory.

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