Democratic Pollster: Slamming Obamacare in 2014 Is a “Trap” for GOP

Democratic pollster says GOP's Obamacare message is a mistake

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Charles Dharapak / AP

President Barack Obama speaks about the initial rollout of the health care overhaul in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on Oct. 21, 2013

The botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act has dented public support for President Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, but Republicans still need to be careful about how they play the next 11 months. If the GOP makes the law the cornerstone of next year’s midterm elections, the strategy will backfire in competitive districts, predicts a top Democratic pollster. “This is a trap,” Stan Greenberg told reporters during a conference call held Thursday. “Grabbing hold of Obamacare will hurt them in this election.”

Greenberg, a co-founder of Democracy Corps and a veteran Democratic political adviser, made the prediction as he unveiled the results of a new poll of 86 battleground districts in the House of Representatives. The results, Greenberg argues, paint a brighter picture for vulnerable Democrats than conventional wisdom suggests.

The early verdict is clear: so far, people don’t like Obama’s historic revamp of the healthcare system. In both the 50 most competitive Republican-held district and the 36 tightest Democratic seats, voters oppose Obamacare by a nine-point margin. The dismal rollout has put Democratic incumbents on the defensive and stoked conservatives’ hopes of making gains in the 2014 elections.

But Greenberg believes the GOP, which intends to highlight the law’s shortcomings in campaigns across the country next year, has seized on a short-term political advantage to its long-term detriment. “This is not a wedge issue,” he said. “It’s reinforcing the idea that they’re only interested in partisan battle.”

That’s because the poll found residents of battleground districts would still prefer to keep the health-care law and focus on fixing its flaws than to repeal it altogether. The poll found that 49% of respondents want to implement and tweak the ACA, compared to 44% who favor repeal. The five-point margin is closer than the 51% to 44% spread in October, a reflection of voters’ frustration with the botched debut of healthcare.gov and disquiet over the prospect of soaring insurance costs. But some of the opposition to the Affordable Care Act comes from liberals who believes the law doesn’t go far enough, Greenberg notes. Even in Republican-held competitive districts, voters narrowly prefer to implement the law than to scrap it and start over.

“This issue is evenly divided,” Greenberg claimed. “The idea that healthcare is their route to winning here, I think, will come out against them.” He argues that voters will interpret their focus on healthcare as a sign of knee-jerk obstruction at a moment when the country is weary of partisan gridlock. Running in the midterms against a law with no viable prospect of repeal, Greenberg claims, would tie the GOP to the tarnished Tea Party brand and risk a backlash for ignoring signal issues like the economy—as Democrats did in 2010 by threading a big, polarizing bill through a divided government at a moment when the economy had cratered and voters wanted lawmakers to focus on jobs.

Despite the Democratic pollster’s optimism, there are troubling signs for the President and his party. Obama’s job approval is underwater, 43% to 48%. Democrats are viewed unfavorably even in Democratic districts, and the party has seen enthusiasm wane among its base, including women and young voters. The survey also revealed deepening skepticism that voters will reap benefits from the healthcare law.

“There’s no doubt the rollout hurt,” said James Carville, the Democracy Corps co-founder and former adviser to President Bill Clinton. “If I was a Republican I would be gleeful, and if I was a Democratic I would be really concerned.” But the midterms are nearly a year away, Carville added, citing the “reasonable hope” that in the meantime the kinks in the website will be smoothed and the economy will grow.

And the Republican predicament, Greenberg claims, is even worse: House Speaker John Boehner is less popular than Obama, the Tea Party’s ratings are in the tank, and GOP incumbents are increasingly vulnerable. By a 59% to 37% margin, the poll found, respondents in battleground districts preferred House Republican incumbents to work with Obama than to devote themselves to stymieing his agenda. “The Obamacare message is their weakest position in the election,” Greenberg said.

Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, cast doubt on the findings a poll conducted by a partisan Democrat. “We hope the Democrats are taking this poll seriously,” she said in an email to TIME. “In the meantime, we’ll continue talking to voters about Obamacare and how government-run healthcare that is increasing costs and decreasing access isn’t the answer.”

The poll, conducted from Dec. 3 to Dec. 8 for Democracy Corps and the liberal Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund, surveyed 1,250 likely 2014 voters from the 86 most competitive House seats in the U.S. Its margin of error is 2.8%.

41 comments
Ghiutz
Ghiutz

In today I received this letter of Mr President Barack Obama and wish to share it with all those who them could be interested. But also want to express that in their time also I did tell the President which were my principles and fundamentals regarding the health system which was to be egalitarian believe essential to a system of health as indispensable in the 21st century and according to the times. I have always believed that it is essential that sacred well which is the enjoyment of a full health; but also we must think for those who by different circumstances and factors must rely on medicine to solve serious problems such as the immuno-deficiency, transplant, etc. Ensuring the health of the people is as important as education, security, justice, work. Not only good intentions are enough but consider, reflect, meditate, solve, apply everything inherent to the transformations and to benefit in a qualitative and quantitative way in equity and fairness without transgress the rules while respecting the law, the Constitution and the civil rights of the people. But also spell out that it must be protected without losing the vision and coherence which does not change in a wasteful corporate lucrative system that goes at the expense of public attention and a free trade disposing health rights violated and that they are marketed. Solidarity begins with respect for the law on the duties as in rights. I hope that all citizens may be beneficiaries and all work together to build a model so that future generations have the right to healthy mind in a healthy body; basic principle and fundamental as thinking beings. by Raymond Murdock

mahoneyct
mahoneyct

Stan Greenberg is polling in a rear-view mirror. So far, only 5.5 million people have been hurt by ACA. Over the next year, another 50 million will be hurt, and there will be a firestorm of opposition. His polling one year from now will paint a completely different picture. And he's way too smart not to know this.

aConservative
aConservative

the author lies - typical Liberal lies.............

TeHrdbl
TeHrdbl

See you in November '14 Greenberg!

gmonsen
gmonsen

As long as the Middle Class is really excited about becoming poor to help the even poorer, the healthcare law is going to be a great success.  But for those who still want to enjoy just a few little special things that their hard work had allowed them to have at the possible expense of someone poorer not being given a slightly better life, this law is a disaster.  Fortunately, we are going to get a pretty good idea of how they really feel about this over the next few months, as the 6 million plans that have been cancelled are either replaced or not.  


The website has only been working somewhat well for a month or so give or take.  That means that not everybody has necessarily seen what their new plans would cost and compared whatever plans they can get and have seen whether their doctors are available in the networks and what hospitals are available.  While their may be some soft and low moaning heard now, we should begin to hear any real screaming in a month or two.  Remember that 6 million plans might be 10-20 million people being effected.  Republicans, Independents, and Democrats.  Men and women.  Young and old.  (There are enough people to statistically represent the country although with some slight upscale variation, because its the independent market and not the employer market.)


So, ignoring that a conservative simply cannot listen to Altman seriously for any reason, after being underwater for years, the GOP suddenly becomes the favored party of everybody in under 2 months due to Obamacare when absolutely nothing else has worked.  It would seem to me sort of a better idea to keep doing just what they're doing.   



CitizenKane
CitizenKane

Greenberg:  Hey GOP, don't tell those passengers that the Titanic is going too fast by those icebergs...they like speed and the like ice


As the Titanic slowly sinks...


Thanks Stan, maybe you better give some of that sage advice to Dems...I think the GOP is able to understand the reality of the impending losses to the Dems...ObamaCare will ONLY get worse and what you, as usual, dont get is that as it does get worse the PLETHORA of solid GOP alternatives are going to  get more attention, make more sense and force weak Dems to bolt to those ideas...even if that means gutting this fiasco.  Indeed, by taking the Budget off the table, there is NOTHING else BUT ObamaCare to talk about.  Income "Equality"?  Please.  Like 1% think its important.  Immigration?  Yeah right, lets spend more money on illegals as we REAL Americans have less to spend on ourselves.  Hollywood? Yeah I need Adam Levin to tell me how hard life is without insurance as he gets laid by anything that moves and admits that he is rather stupid when it comes to life, which makes him a  great artist (15 minutes of fame about to end Adam...).  A rap video about ObamaCare...yeah Im sure Jay Z thinks its at his level, its like a  bunch of middle class white teenagers wrote that crap (which is not too far from the truth...they just hired a bunch of dopey black guys to perform it).  War on Women?  Whatever, Single women now pay for older women and ll they get is free birth control which we all know that could get for FREE ANYWAY from Planned Parenthood and married women mostly pay the bills and run the finances and take the kids to doctors so they will see this horror show caused by the Dems up close and personal.  Abortion?  Whatever, MORE women support restrictions in 3rd Trimester and the fact is, its not a big issue anymore...we see too many advancements in fetal development. ....nah, you guys Ucked Fup, pure and simple, and you know it...liberalism is going to die a painful death and hibernate for a generation, just like it did after that last loser Carter.  Indeed odds increase every day that Obama will be impeached...


Anyway, enjoy that Titanic cruise Stan....


Oh and PS...for the LAST time: we don't vote for CONGRESS, we vote for PEOPLE and who cares what some idiot in SanFran thinks of Boehner!  

cstopp
cstopp

Well I think the GOP will definitely listen to this Democratic pollster, thank you so much for the fantastic advice! Anybody who thinks that Obamacare will be a net benefit in 2014 is a blind ideologue or avid watcher of MSNBC. Wait, that's the same thing, my apologies.

EdTaylor
EdTaylor

Altman is whistling passed the graveyard.  Democrats wrote a law that will effectively wipe away many families disposable income.  To add to the sting is the fact that Obama and Democrats lied about the law...over & over.

Americans still vote their pocketbook.  Steal their disposable income from their pocketbook, and voters will return the favor when they go to the polls.

I have two chronic illnesses that my insurance had never balked at covering.  I had no deductible, $15 office visit copays & $10-30 medication copay.  I paid an average of $1500-1800 per year.

Now I am getting gouged with medical costs that will run over $10,000 per year.  That will suck away most of my disposable income.

I know which party to thank for emptying my wallet when I vote.

docdave88
docdave88

Too good.


I always appreciate advice from Liberals.


I'm sure that it will help my side win elections.


ROFL

docdave88
docdave88

Oh too good.


I love advice from Liberals. I always think it's the best way for my side to win elections.


Thank you.

MorphySmith
MorphySmith

Gee, those Dems are always trying to help the GOP. I wonder why?

N369RM
N369RM

Obamacare reminds me of the old joke, "I am from the Federal Government and I am here to help."


Obamacare is going to be a financial disaster for this Country. The so called "middle class" that the Democrats so claim to be who they protect are getting killed by Obamacare. I have not seen any plan for a single person that is less than $6,000 deductible. And I am told that a couple is looking at 12,000 as a deductible!


That is ON TOP of the premiums they must pay -- so that if someone pays $8,000 for insurance and then another $6,000 to $12.000 in deductibles, their heath insurance actually costs them between $14,000 and $20,000 BEFORE the insurance company pays the first dime.


No wonder the insurance companies LOVE Obamacare!!!!!!


Thank you Democrats for destroying this Country... PERIOD!

rjspenba
rjspenba

Just found out that my premiums will at a minimum triple.  Deductible will now be through the roof, my doctor is not on the any of the plans offered here.  In fact, my doctor said he will likely retire, also, my very effective diabetic medicine is not on any of the lists of available medications on the plans that I was able to find that level of detail.  But most plans didn't provide that level of detail.    


Oh and one of our Senators in Oklahoma offered an alternate plan - here is an article about it on the Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sen-tom-coburn/a-better-way-to-reform-he_b_213109.html


I'm thinking that since folks with individual plans are dealing with these problems now, next year (after the election) small businesses will have to deal with it and then large business employees will have to deal with it.  So about this time next year many of the 300+ million US citizens will have to deal with this.  I can't imagine there not being massive, massive outrage.  I can't imagine anything being more personal and enraging then jacking with everyone in the country's health insurance.  


My understanding is that premiums will be re-evaluated more then once a year and that the premiums we are seeing now will go up if the number of young people don't enroll and if more and more medicaid recipients sign up.  So the incredibly high premiums we see now could be the good news going forward ;-( 


I hate that since I will be spending at least $1,000/mth MORE on premiums that I will have to pull way back on spending and our budget.  That's money that would have been spent at local businesses, restaurants and other services that will now all be impacted since all this money will be going toward "Affordable Health Care".  So if you're a small business owner not only will your premiums and deductibles skyrocket but your sales will be potentially affected.


What else can you say?  Sad, sad, sad. 

asokasus
asokasus

comment keeps being blocked. not offensive. time just doesn't like the comment

asokasus
asokasus

As the trickle of stories of people being destroyed by obamacare turns  into a raging torrent sometime around March 2014 and the full extent of the horrors and destruction wrought by obamacare and the Democrats becomes evident for the whole world to see, voters will be hunting Democrats down in the streets with dogs and pitchforks.

AsokSmith
AsokSmith

As the trickle of stories of people being destroyed by obamacare turns  into a raging torrent sometime around March 2014 and the full extent of the horrors and destruction wrought by obamacare and the Democrats becomes evident for the whole world to see, voters will be hunting Democrats down in the streets with dogs and pitchforks.

AsokSmith
AsokSmith

As the trickle of stories of people's lives being destroyed by obamacare turns  into a raging torrent sometime around March 2014 and the full extent of the horrors and destruction wrought by obamacare and the Democrats becomes evident for the whole world to see, voters will be hunting Democrats down in the streets with dogs and pitchforks.

AsokSmith
AsokSmith

As the trickle of stories of people's lives being destroyed by obamacare turns  into a raging torrent sometime around March 2014 and the full extent of the horrors and destruction wrought by obamacare and the Democrats becomes evident for the whole world to see, voters will be hunting Democrats down in the streets with dogs and pitchforks.

LilianaRawks
LilianaRawks

A Democrat strategist offering advice to Republicans. How precious is that????

gthog61
gthog61

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha


You keep right on holding on to that rope Greenberg.


Saying the Republicans haven't come yup with alternatives is a bald-faced lie.  Just because the lib media outlets some of you get your pablum from don't cover them does not mean they are not there.

eddiecarl4468
eddiecarl4468

Article is fantasyland.

1. Many less people covered than before law.

2. Many will not have their current doctor come Jan 1

3. A good number of people that actually vote will not receive subsidies and therefore will pay higher premiums, deductibles ect..

4. 15-20 % of people that signed up for obamacare won't be covered because insurers never received proper data from goofy website.

5. And lastly and this is a biggie, come about sept 2014 businesses will start bracing for mandate . This will change 20-70 million policies people are currently on since they won't comply with obamacare. Now you have 1/4 of the country furious.

The reality is people don't like change and the certainly don't want to be forced into something by the government that was sold on ( lies)ACa might work long term( doubt it)? But to think this will all blow over by midterms next year is pure fantasy!

RicardoRivera
RicardoRivera

I been saying this for months...Time is not the enemy of the ACA!

barneydidit
barneydidit

Still trying to figure out how Republicans can think not being able to come up with something better than a law they declare to be the worst one ever passed in history is a reason to vote for them.

rjspenba
rjspenba

@N369RM  It's amazing how Obama's policies have helped Wall Street surge and banks are making huge profits again - http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2011/11/07/WP-Wall-Street-Surges-under-Obama


The dems portray themselves as the party of the middle class - yet the middle class are getting the brunt of Obama's policies and more people are on food stamps but the rich are getting richer and richer - I don't get it.  How are the dems helping anyone but the rich - oh and the rich can afford obamacare.

LilianaRawks
LilianaRawks

@barneydidit I'm still trying to figure out why it is so easy to brainwash liberals. Is it because you are so intellectually lazy that you take what you hear as fact without checking it for yourself? How else could an adult possibly NOT know that the Republicans did, and do, have their own plan?

ar-steffens
ar-steffens

@barneydidit By the way... when you voted for Obama last year, was it in opposition to the Ryan budget or was it for Obama's nonexistent budget?  For a party that only campaigned last year on how bad the opposition's plans were, while offering none of your own, I find this new talking point by Democrats very hypocritical.  

ar-steffens
ar-steffens

@barneydidit The Republicans need to come up with their own plan to destroy American health care before they can repeal the Democrat's...?


If I came up with a law, passed it in the middle of the night, no one in my party read it, no one in your party voted for it, and it resulted in citizens being required to kill puppies.... I suppose I'd ask what your plan to slow the growth of dog population is using your logic.  

barneydidit
barneydidit

So your argument then when you're in a sinking boat is to do nothing? Oh, btw, democrats have proposed a budget every year, no republican has voted for one so what's the point?

rjspenba
rjspenba

@brotherskeeper @ar-steffens @barneydidit   Give it up -  Senator Colburn's Health care plan (way back when all this started)  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sen-tom-coburn/a-better-way-to-reform-he_b_213109.html this isn't the only proposal by the way.



Another - http://heartland.org/policy-documents/republican-alternative


"BE GONE REPUBS YOU ARE INTELLECTUALLY  BANKRUPT do you need a FEDERAL STIMULUS package so you can get some ideas."  Really - looks like alternatives to me.


"Repeat a lie often enough and people will believe it"  -  Joseph Goebbels


brotherskeeper
brotherskeeper

@ar-steffens @barneydidit Hey Barney do your self a favour  if these Repugnants can't come up with an idea for health care don't debate with them. OBAMA CARES THE REPUBS DON'T OBAMA CARES THE REPUBS DON'T .  This is what we will beat them with in 2014 . That;s all we have to say . Their MASTERS( INS & BIG PHARMA) won't let them bring forth any ideas because they want the status quo to continue. They have sold their souls for 30 pieces of silver and much less . BE GONE REPUBS YOU ARE INTELLECTUALLY  BANKRUPT do you need a FEDERAL STIMULUS package so you can get some ideas.

ar-steffens
ar-steffens

@barneydidit Sinking in a boat?  I liked our healthcare system.  Yes, there is/was plenty of room for improvement.  And are you referring to Obama's budgets that he couldn't get his own party to vote yes on? LOL.  How did Republicans hold Dems back from a budget when they had total control the first two years?  No budget then either huh? SPEND SPEND SPEND baby!  It's the Democrat way!