Health Care: A Problem for House Democrats

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Health care reform was the biggest thing this Democratic Congress accomplished since it took power after the 2006 midterm elections, and voters in swing districts don't like it, posing a major problem that's especially acute for freshman Democrats elected in 2008, according to a new poll by The Hill/ANGA.


Based on a survey of 12 competitive districts represented by freshman Democrats, The Hill's Bob Cusack presents the results:

Republicans have vowed to repeal the law if they take control of Congress, and the findings of Mark Penn, who led Penn Schoen Berland's polling team, show that healthcare is a major issue for voters this year.

When asked if they wanted the legislation repealed, 56 percent of voters in the surveyed districts said yes. "Only Democrats were opposed to repeal (23 percent to 64 percent)," Penn said. "Undecided voters wanted the healthcare law repealed by 49 percent to 27 percent."

In each district, a majority of those surveyed said they want the controversial law gone.

Nationally, an average of 49 percent oppose the health care plan Obama signed, while 41 percent support it.

While the Iraq war and Republican ethics/lobbying scandals dominated the 2006 elections, Democrats campaigned especially hard in 2008 on the idea that Republicans don't represent middle-, lower-, and working-class Americans--that the party of George W. Bush and John McCain was more concerned with oil and corporate interests than struggling Americans--and health care was the economic concern they focused on most directly.

After a heated Democratic primary that saw much debate over the competing health care plans of John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, and President Obama, health care became a top issue for Democratic voters in 2008. According to CNN exit polls, 60 percent of Obama voters said they were worried about the cost of health care, while only 38 percent of McCain voters said the same thing.

The 2008 election turned voters' attention to the rising cost of health care, and after the national health-care question was opened by President Obama and Democrats, swing voters don't like their answer to it.

It appears that the messiest legislative event of Obama's first two years in office could cost Democrats a significant number of House seats in less than a month.
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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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