Democrats in Tough Races Need to Stick Up For Obamacare

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Greg Sargent reports on the latest polling in battleground districts:

Top Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg — having just done extensive polling in 86 competitive House districts — is advising Dems they should go on offense over the Affordable Care Act. The key finding: Even though voters in the battlegrounds have extreme doubts about the law, they still prefer implementing it to the GOP stance of repeal. And after a month of crushingly awful press for Obamacare, opinions on this matter in the battlegrounds have barely budged since October.

….Offered a straight choice between “implementing and fixing” the health law and “repealing and replacing” it, voters in these 86 districts prefer “implementing and fixing” by five points, 49-44. That’s only a slight difference from October, when implement and fix led by seven, 51-44.

For a variety of reasons, I think this is good advice. At the most basic level, voters prefer candidates who stick up for what they believe, even if they don’t entirely agree with them. The worst possible position is to vote for something and then waffle around about whether you’re ready to stand behind it.

That said, these results aren’t surprising. They’re about the same as every national poll I’ve seen for the past year. The numbers vary a bit from poll to poll, but there’s virtually always (a) a small majority who either support Obamacare as is or want it expanded into something even more liberal, and (b) a small majority who prefer keeping it to repealing it. The first result varies depending on question wording, but the second one never does. Even in polls that show a majority opposed to Obamacare, you almost always get a majority (or a plurality) who are also opposed to ditching it outright.

These poll results sound about right to me, and I suppose members of Congress like to see polling in their district that confirms national trends. Still, the national trend has never been for repealing Obamacare. Some of that may be status quo bias, and some may be a recognition that Republicans have no credible alternative, but it’s been pretty consistent for years now.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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