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How much is health care hurting the Democrats?

Topics: health care , Health Care Reform

Via John Sides, David W. Brady, Daniel P. Kessler, and Douglas Rivers have published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that is likely to fuel Democratic panic in Washington over health care:

The majority party normally loses seats in midterm elections, but the Republican resurgence of recent months is more than a conventional midterm rebound. How can a little known Republican run a competitive Senate campaign in Massachusetts? The culprit is the unpopularity of health reform, and it means that Democrats will face even worse problems later this year in less liberal places than Massachusetts.

We have polled voters in 11 states likely to have competitive Senate races in November on how they feel about health reform and how they might vote in November...

Health reform is more popular in some of these states than in others. Where it's popular, Democratic candidates don't have too much of a problem, but where it's unpopular--and that includes most states--the Democratic Senate candidates are fighting an uphill battle...

Support for the Republican Senate candidates in these races is closely related to voter opposition to the health-care Senate bill...

How do we know that it's the health-reform bill that's to blame for the low poll numbers for Democratic Senate candidates and not just that these are more conservative states?

First, we asked voters how their incumbent senator voted on the health-care bill that passed on Christmas Eve. About two-thirds answered correctly. Even now, long before Senate campaigns have intensified, voters know where the candidates stand on health care. And second, we asked voters about their preference for Democrat versus Republican candidates in a generic House race. As in the Senate, the higher the level of opposition to health reform, the greater the likelihood that the state's voters supported Republicans.

Brady and Rivers are highly respected political scientists (I'm not familiar with Kessler), but I'm not sure we can draw strong conclusions from these data. Since health care passed on a perfect party line vote in the Senate, it's relatively easy to know where an incumbent stands on the issue. And given the salience of the health care debate, the correlation between state opposition to health care reform and support for Republican senate candidates is (a) not surprising and (b) not necessarily causal (especially given that those are aggregate measures).

I tend to think that much of the health care fallout is an expression of economic discontent, but there's certainly an argument to be made that it has exacerbated the public's predictable turn away from liberalism. In either case, however, disentangling these factors is extremely difficult.

Update 1/21 8:25 PM: Matt Blackwell makes a similar argument at the Harvard Social Science Statistics blog.

[Cross-posted to brendan-nyhan.com]

 

Comments
GARY WAGNER:

My conclusions come from a different perspective. I don't know of one single person who wants this healthcare bill put into law. There are some that used to support it before the Louisiana Purchase, the Cornhusker Hustle, and the $60 billion union give-away. This is bigger than the healthcare bill but that is the focal point. Anyone who voted for this monstrosity voted to continue the corrupt out of control tactics of congress. It isn't the bill people hate nearly so much as the corrupt and manipulative way it was shoved through.

We might be starting a power ping pong that will shift control from one party to the other until either another party emerges to take over or until either the democrats or the republicans reform congress when they get the chance.

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LordMike:

Well, that seems unlikely now that the Supreme Court has authorized corporations to literally purchase candidates straight out...

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GARY WAGNER:

LordMike, how is that any different than the $500 million the unions were allowed to give Obama under the unconstitutional law? How much do you think they will give now? Especially after Obama gave them the auto companies. Now they can give union money and corporate money both.

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AySz88:

I wonder how much the MA discontent for health care reform is related to the fact that they have some of the important aspects already through state law (near-universal coverage, subsidies, mandate, etc.)? I vaguely remember that someone wrote about how HCR in MA is seen as "better than before" but still not that highly approved of. But it also might mean that MA voters don't care much for the federal proposal, since they don't get much additional benefit from it.

@ "GARY WAGNER" - please don't bring in other issues arbitrarily, since it pushes things off-topic and is rather irritating. I know I'd personally prefer the comments to be on-topic and about analysis and interpretation of polling, not a place for just any random political commentary.

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3/22/2010
I had to wait for this Bill to be passed in order to show the Republican Party and GOP and FRC Action that it is the voice of the people that guides the destiny of this Country.
As predicted , the first stages of the Health Care Bill was passed. Why, you ask ? It is because people wish to be seen for their in put of a view and not unite. What is lost is respect with in a concept of { Freedom Of Choice } to be a part of this system or not, with in this Health Care Force Pay Matrix.
What is offered by FASC Concepts is the Freedom Of Choice, because we feel it is unconstitutional to force pay into the failures of Health Care Insurance Companies and then Tax that money. As you can see our elected officials are paying little attention to the public. As I reach out to my computer and I knock , knock, knock on the screen, and I say is there any body out there?
This Health Care issue keeps taking turns and twist that bewilder the mind in thoughts. This $100 trillion dollar system ,as it would seem, I am counting up to $ 8 trillion 682 billion Dollars so far. One guy emailed me and he is up to $27 Trillion dollars.
You see when Harry Reid added a extra ....almost, $2 Trillion dollars in a tax forum, this through my numbers off with the 1 to 3 year spread of taxes.
Lets show you this way seeing how I run out of fingers to count on and I do not feel like taking my shoes off.....
to get a $4 Trillion dollar tax spread, it is based at a 0.25% up to 4 years.
To be able to see the amount taxed in one year as a whole at 50% is around $8.2 Trillion to $8.8 Trillion, please remember according to Government Officials this is to be a spread tax, 3 to 10 years.. There is over 10 thousand companies I have not even got to yet. So lets take this $ 8 trillion 682 billion Dollars and forget about the other figures, reach into your mind and say ,1 to 3 to 10 years Tax against the Health Care System, then take this 10% tax against the almost $4 Trillion Dollars, your factor must be a multiplication. Then you will see this Tax factor as net value of that system. But of course Government Officials will not show the a net value of a system or that one company, this wold make it to easy for the People to follow the Tax Dollar.
Remember this tax dollar does not include the split petition of the tax forum of increases in other areas, in the name of Health Care Reform. This tax forum I, or we can have very little effect against.
As for theses hidden taxes, they are not hidden. They are built into a split petition. They are meant not to be seen, only revealed as the Progressive Capital Tax Forum works the system in order to not over burden the money system. What is lost is trust because Government Officials by considering the public slow witted and as for this Bill, I want to read the Law that is to represent the Bill. This is because one word has a directive and a code and a sentence can lead to a different truth in concept.
So now it begins, the Civil Rights Law Suits and Constitutional Suits. We are not talking just a few law suits we are talking thousands will be filed because of the Freedom Of Choice is taken away and a Tax against money that is not Government Officials Rights to Tax, the Health Care Money for Coverage.
Within our web site we suggested to build a Government Web Site that will show the People the monthly income of this Health Care Dollar and what the dollar is used for. But of Course this can not be allowed this would audit the IRS and Government System.

So, what do you wish to do ? Sit back and complain or unite your voice as one and state that ,{ We believe in the Freedom Of Choice to be a Part Of this Health Care System or not. } We intend to give life to hope to where there is none.
FASC Concepts in and for Pay It Forward. Join the trickle effect and email President Obama .....
Our goal is to start a trickle effect and the goal is President Obama and this Bill to Law. To merge 250 million veiws for a honest Health Care reform. The trickle effect is , Email President Barack Obama
Mar 20, 2009 ... How to contact President Barack Obama and other White House Officials.
www.emailthepresident.com/ - Cached – Similar
and state we support FASC Concepts in part or in full, and share your views and be respectful in order to gain respect.
Health Care within a moral value, is to ,
{ GIVE LIFE TO HOPE WHERE THERE IS NONE }
Henry Massingale
FASC Concepts in and for Pay It Forward
www.fascmovement.mysite.com on google. yahoo, and aol.com
please take the time and visit all my new friends on the net and if you wish to post with FASC Concepts you will be most welcomed. So join us and share your ideas as one in one voice. Just type in the web address and you will see over Results 1 - 10 of about 6,730 for www fascmovement com and there is over 10,000

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