Obamacare is moving poll numbers against Democrats and even some of the law’s supporters are beginning to fear the effect it may have on the 2014 midterm elections. However, not all are willing to publicly acknowledge the reality.
After a Democratic defeat in the special election in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz tried to rationalize the loss, tweeting, “The GOP underperformed tonight in the #FL13 – a district they’ve held for decades.”
In fact, Barack Obama won the district in both 2008 and 2012. Charlie Cook, the editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, noted, “The idea that Republicans underperformed in a district that Obama carried twice is laughable.” The Washington Post went on to award Wasserman Schultz’s absurd claim with Three Pinocchio’s.
Back in January, Stuart Rothenberg labeled the Florida special election “The Race Democrats Can’t Afford to Lose.” He wrote in Roll Call, “A loss in the competitive March 11 contest would almost certainly be regarded by dispassionate observers as a sign that President Barack Obama could constitute an albatross around the neck of his party’s nominees in November. And that could make it more difficult for Democratic candidates, campaign committees and interest groups to raise money and energize the grass roots.”
Wasserman Schultz refuses to concede that President Obama’s signature law is bringing down Democratic candidates. Her official statement following the loss in Florida claimed, “Tonight, Republicans fell short of their normal margin in this district because the agenda they are offering voters has a singular focus – that a majority of voters oppose – repealing the Affordable Care Act that would return us to the same old broken health care system.”
Despite attempts by Democrats to spin the story, the reality is that candidates who embrace Obamacare face a rocky road ahead with voters. The Cook Political Report announced Wednesday that three key Senate races (Alaska, Louisiana and North Carolina), which had been rated as Leans Democratic, were being moved into the Toss Up column. All three of those races feature a pro-abortion Democratic incumbent who voted for Obamacare.
In Arkansas, pro-abortion Sen. Mark Pryor, who also backs Obamacare, has been unable to move his race out of the Toss Up column where it has stood for months. Republican Senate candidate Tom Cotton has made the law a central issue in the campaign. Some observers have likened Pryor to his former colleague Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), who went down in a landslide defeat in 2010 due, in large part, to her vote for Obamacare.
Obamacare and top-tier recruiting by Republicans are expanding the field of play in 2014. States previously thought out of reach for the GOP may just turn competitive.
Pro-abortion Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) was on his way to a relatively smooth reelection. But now, with the entrance of pro-life Rep. Cory Gardner (R) into the race, Colorado is up for grabs. Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling found the two candidates in a statistical dead heat. The same poll showed support for Obamacare in Colorado at just 39% while 51% disapproved. 58% of respondents said the law’s rollout had been unsuccessful.
Polling has also shown a close race for the open Senate seat in Michigan, a state that traditionally favors Democrats. Republican Terri Lynn Land is giving Democratic Rep. Gary Peters a run for his money and taking him to task for his embrace of Obamacare. Polling shows Michiganders oppose Obamacare by a 14-point margin. Additionally, 63% believe the implementation has been unsuccessful.
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Former Sen. Scott Brown (R), who won a seat in Massachusetts in 2010 thanks to his opposition to Obamacare, has announced an exploratory committee to run for Senate in New Hampshire against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D), an Obamacare supporter. Upon the announcement, the Cook Political Report moved the race from Safe Democratic to Leans Democratic.
National Right to Life recently released a report examining the effect of the Affordable Care Act in the United States. “For pro-life Americans concerned about the impact on innocent human life—both born and unborn—the policies of Obamacare couldn’t be worse,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “Americans are just as concerned with the law’s impact on our ability to access life-saving medical treatment for ourselves, our family members, and our loved ones as with Obamacare’s funding of abortions. Obamacare is bad medicine for America.”