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Democrats Should Be Afraid, Very Afraid


Democrats have good reason to be skittish about the ACA. As CNN reports, Democratic strength in next year’s midterm elections has just taken a ten point hit:

Democrats a month ago held a 50%–42% advantage among registered voters in a generic ballot, which asked respondents to choose between a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district without identifying the candidates.

That result came after congressional Republicans appeared to overplay their hand in the bitter fight over the federal government shutdown and the debt ceiling.

But the Democratic lead has disappeared. A new CNN/ORC poll indicates the GOP now holds a 49%–47% edge.

This is big news. In 2010 the GOP trailed by six on the generic ballot question and picked up 60 seats, but now it holds a lead on the generic ballot. Democrats, in other words, have taken a greater hit from the health care fiasco than the GOP did from the government shutdown. Things could still turn around before November 2014, and in the meantime there will probably be various mini-surges in public support, website functionality, and other areas.

But the terrible first impression of the law has been deeply damaging, and Democrats will have a hard time putting it behind them. Part of what’s happening is that voters unhappy with the slow economic recovery are probably feeling the health care mess as a trigger event that finally convinces them that the Obama administration has been a disappointment. And there’s going to be enough noise from the continuing cancellations, doc shock, and rate shock—whether history ultimately considers them speed bumps or signs that the wheels were falling off—to sustain much of the anger the rollout has generated.

That anger could have two consequences next fall: upscale voters turn out more in midterms, and their turnout is going to be higher than usual because of the intensity of their feelings about health care. As the CNN poll notes, upscale voters are the ones least likely to be affected by good news about the uninsured who the law ends up helping, so the spikes and network restrictions affecting them directly could wind up being more determinative of their position on the ACA than whatever ends up happening with those previously uninsured.

Things change, but right now the outlook favors bad weather.

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  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    It looks like another historically powerful TEA Party storm is approaching, like the one in 2010 but even stronger.

  • Corlyss

    “Things could still turn around before November 2014, and in the meantime there will probably be various mini-surges in public support, website functionality, and other areas.”

    Exactly. Nothing to boast about in a 2% advantage. However, that’s going to expand exponentially when 178 mil. Americans lose their employer provided health insurance next year. In June 2010 the Dimmycrats/Administration knew that employees in 60+% small business health plans, 55% in large business health plans, and 63% of all health plans were going to lose them because the plans were not the one-size-fits-all-at-a-much-higher-price plans approved by the ACA. All totaled, those plans cover something like 178 mil workers. They are not going to be happy campers come Nov 2014.

  • AD_Rtr_OS

    GOP high-water marks in the House:
    67th Congress…302 seats;
    71st Congress…270 seats;
    80th Congress…246 seats.

    What will the 114th Congress bring?

  • Boritz

    Part of what’s happening is that voters unhappy with the slow economic recovery are probably feeling the health care mess as a trigger event that finally convinces them that the Obama administration has been a disappointment. – VM
    We have knows all along how smart the voters are.

    • Boritz

      I meant known. 🙂

      • PapayaSF

        Disqus allows you to edit your posts.

    • Bruce Hayden

      Maybe a part of this are people who pretty much have escaped the Obama Recession relatively unscathed, but are now facing much higher premiums, losing doctors, hospitals, etc.

      • iconoclast

        Government bureaucrats (aka Democrats) escape all of that by virtue of their gold-plated health plans. 20-30% of the USA don’t see what the problem is all about.

  • Dantes

    You are leaving out one word which is on the minds of millions of people, and connected to Obama and the entire Democratic Party.


    Worse than Watergate.

    • Bill Gryan

      I hope you’re right, but you left out two words: “stupidity” and “cultishness”.

      Never underestimate the powers of personality and celebrity in the eyes of millions of idiots. These people have shown a remarkable tenacity to follow Dear Leader even when he flagrantly violates their stated “principles”.

      • Ritchie The Riveter

        Especially when you add in a powerful motivation for electing “cool” people like Mr. Obama … “cool” people don’t harsh your mellow with credible criticism of your choices in life.

        Such voters are willing to tolerate Progressive fundamentalism, as long as it leads to the suppression of such criticism from alternatives to the Progressive worldview.

        It also helps that the Progressive worldview assigns responsibility on the basis of pocket depth, so that many voters think that it is the responsibility of the deep-pocketed to solve those voters’ problems FOR them, with minimal effort on their own part.

  • Mike55_Mahoney

    Ok, so the Dems are imploding and it is helping Rep ratings. Is that the whole ride? Can’t the Rs come up with a few small ball winners. I say small ball because every time they go big they get clobbered. It is time to pile on. Kick ’em while they’re down. Don’t just stand there. Do something.

    • PapayaSF

      They went big in 1994 with the Contract With America and won big. They should do something like that again in 2014, with a focus on a free-market replacement for Obamacare and on the economy.

  • M. Johnston

    “For whatsovever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”

  • teapartydoc

    The prospect of things changing for the better for the Democrats will depend on unforseeable events occurring between now and next fall. The health care fiasco is something that will keep people steamed or disillusioned while passing the time ’till the election; it is not going away. Folks will see bills coming due every month that they know are hundreds of dollars more because of the votes taken by one party, and one party alone, without one solitary vote coming from the other side. And this is one glaring instance in which the party responsible for those bills will not be able to pretend that they are fleecing “the rich”. No, those high bills will be slapping average folks right in the face every month from here on out. And no, they will not be getting any increase in services for this increase in cost. And the professionals providing those services will be paid less to provide them and will have to jump through more hoops and deal with more red tape in order to provide them. This is a disaster on a scale not seen since the days of the National Recovery Administration. The NRA was declared unconstitutional by the SCOTUS. Too bad John Roberts could not have been as wise.

  • bflat879

    Part of the problem Democrats have is they can’t tell the truth about the ACA and they’ve turned down so many attempts by the Republicans to reform it they won’t be able to blame Republicans for the results.

    If the idea was to get them hooked on the ACA so it wouldn’t go anywhere, they’ve done a poor job of that. You can’t log on, there are more people losing their insurance than can get it, the plans are more expensive, because of the law, and there’s not teeth to the enforcement mechanism. It’s certainly not designed to get people hooked. It’s sort of like spiking Heroin with Ipicac (not sure of the spelling) which makes you throw up. Tough to get hooked on something that makes you sick before you get a buzz.

  • AnnSaltzafrazz

    The ACA is also a recessionary engine. You have millions of independent contractors with sticker shock and who will now have to fork over substantially more of their income to insurance companies–lessening their spending on everything else. You have businesses throwing workers off onto the exchanges, where they too will see sticker shock and need to fork over more of the money they were planning to spend or save elsewhere. You have some businesses choosing to eat the increases in insurance costs, but doing it by reducing hiring, closing satellites, reducing expansion, hacking at their marketing and PR budgets, eliminating raises and promotions, etc.

    You have an enormous number of people flooding the Medicaid rolls as well as newly subsidized individuals who will suck money out of the public purse (some of the people who will soon receive subsidies were paying their own way before).

    Then you have the promises to cover insurance company losses and the tax increases to compensate for a massive increase in federal government spending. Much will be financed by blowing the deficit hole even bigger–and drawing more money out of the economy.

    Every piece of the response to the ACA will be a brake on the economy.

    Expect a major recession.

  • Callawyn

    Outside of the mainstream press, there was no “hit” to Republicans over the shutdown.

    Obama disgraced himself, his office, and his Party by recalling fuloughed Parks officials to inflict as much pain on ordinary citizens as possible.

    Beyond that, 800,000 superfluous bureaucrats were given a paid vacation and no one noticed.

  • Callawyn

    “have a hard time putting it behind them”

    It will be impossible. This isn’t like Benghazi where you can just pretend it didn’t happen and wait for the next news cycle, hoping people will forget.

    Obamacare impacts the lives of EVERY citizen directly, and in a hugely negative way. Its going to get MUCH worse over the course of next year as 93-140 MILLION more policy cancellations go out.

    It will continue to get worse even after that when people realize the new Exchange policies, in addition to being massively more expansive, force them to lose their Doctors, too. They will force everyone into Medicaid level of care, which is worse than having no insurance at all.

    From a partisan electoral perspective, this is the gift that keeps on giving. The only way Dems can possibly salvage anything from the disaster is to join with Republicans in repealing it.

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