MCINTURFF-HARRINGTON MORNING CONSULT COLUMN (10-7-14): THE ACA IN THE CONTEXT OF THE 2014 ELECTION

With Election Day less than a month away, we wanted to review and reflect on the ACA in the context of the election.

A few key points about how voters are feeling about the ACA today:

  1. There continues to be stronger opposition to the health care law than support.
    • When asked whether or not they think the health care law was a good idea or bad idea, nearly half of registered voters say it is a bad idea (48{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} bad idea, 34{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} good idea, 18{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} No opinion/Unsure).
    • There is a large partisan divide with the majority of Independents (51{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) and Republicans (82{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) saying the health care law is a bad idea, and the majority of Democrats saying it is a good idea (63{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}). Republicans have always been more intensely opposed than Democrats have been enthusiastic about the health care law.
    • Some of the key voter groups this election cycle are more negative about the health care law.

chart 1

  1. More Americans continue to say they are “less confident” rather than “more confident” about the health care law based on what they have seen, read, or heard about it over the last few weeks.
  1. The majority (58{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) of people say they or someone they know have been personally impacted by the health care law. Among these people, six in ten say the impact of the law has been negative.
  1. The health care law is an important vote issue for people who disapprove of the law but not for those who approve of the law.

Chart 2

What does this mean for the election?

  • Obamacare is “baked into” voters’ attitudes. Among potential Republican voters, it is a compelling and convincing reason why to vote Republican.
  • Opposition to Obamacare unites the Republican base and will draw some center-right Independents to vote Republican.
  • If more people lose coverage in October, the negative news environment would continue to raise the saliency of this issue before the election, but even so, this is one of the top issues in the cycle with one out of ten campaign ads revolving around Obamacare.
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