The Corner

Politics & Policy

Could Health Care Be the GOP’s Silver Bullet?

Today on NRO, Heather Higgins and Hadley Heath Manning have an important article on intense and large focus-group testing (of 7,500 independents) done for Independent Women’s Voice, which finds that health care “which conventional political wisdom has dismissed as no longer a priority for the American people — has great resonance, and when people know key facts about our health-care system, many will on their own and without prodding reconsider their political preferences, including which candidates to support.” 

Specifically, when the IWV’s methods were applied, they ”increased the percentage of people saying they were more likely to vote for candidates who favored repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act by a net 32 points over the control group.”

That’s . . . big. And when applied to a specific contest, in this case the Wisconsin Senate battle between incumbent Republican Ron Johnson and Democrat Russ Feingold, the testing found that “those who had received our fact-based information supported Senator Johnson over Russ Feingold by 18 percentage points and Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by 21 percentage points.” 

Complementing the idea that Obamacare should matter to the GOP — and the Trump campaign — in November is a new poll (of 1,029 American adults) conducted for by Freedom Partners, which has launched a Bust the Bailouts effort opposing the use of taxpayer dollars to offset the losses suffered by insurance companies caught short by the Affordable Care Act.

The poll’s key findings: 55 percent oppose (35 percent “strongly”) “using taxpayer money to bail out insurance companies losing money as a result of the” ACA; and 49 percent are “less likely” (opposed to 31 percent “more likely”) “to vote for a political candidate who supports using taxpayer money to bail out insurance companies losing money as a result of the Affordable Care Act.” 

And there seems to be noticeable voter intensity, albeit not found amongst Obamacare supporters — 31 percent of those surveyed said they were “much less likely” to vote for a bailout-supporting candidate, while only 13 percent said they were “much more likely.”

So, unless I am missing something, the health-care issue seems potent for Election Day. And yet, as Jim Geraghty points out in today’s Morning Jolt, it wasn’t until last night’s Veep debate, when Mike Pence raised the issue, that Obamacare has come up in debates (not by Trump, not by Hillary, and, glaringly, not by moderators).

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