Poll: GOP Leads in Midterm Races as Obamacare Drags Down Democrats

Image: Poll: GOP Leads in Midterm Races as Obamacare Drags Down Democrats Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, speaks alongside small business owners who say they have been negatively affected by Obamacare.

Monday, 19 May 2014 09:12 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Republicans are in the lead in the most competitive House and Senate races for the 2014 midterm elections, a reflection of President Barack Obama's low job approval rating and disenchantment with Obamacare, a new poll has found.

In a poll by Politico conducted May 2-13 of 867 likely voters, 41 percent of respondents said they would choose a Republican compared to 34 percent who said they would choose a Democrat.

Roughly 25 percent are unsure of their preference.

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

"Both Obama's job approval and the partisan ballot matchup are markedly more negative for Democrats in this poll than other national surveys — a reflection of the political reality that the midterm campaign is being fought on turf that is more challenging for Democrats than the nation as a whole," Politico said.

At the same time, the poll also showed that even in a number of conservative states and races that could be a toss-up, voters lean in the liberal direction on a number of issues on the Democratic Party agenda, including immigration reform, pay equity, and background checks for gun sales.

Voters, however, prioritize these issues much lower than healthcare, with nearly 9 out of 10 people saying their view on healthcare would be an important determinant of their vote, including 49 percent who said it would be very important, according to Politico.

Among those surveyed who had an opinion of the Affordable Care Act, the electorate was almost exactly split between those who want to repeal the law entirely (48 percent) and those who favor either leaving it alone (16 percent) or keeping it in place with modifications (35 percent).

"At the same time that the healthcare law is plainly a political anchor for Democrats, the poll signals that fully killing the ACA may not be a slam-dunk as a political proposition and could be a more complicated issue for a GOP presidential ticket to negotiate in 2016," Politico said.

The survey also found that majorities of white voters (54 percent) and men (51 percent) support repealing Obamacare, but a majority of most subgroups do not support repeal, including independents, moderates, African-Americans, and Hispanics.

"The midterm electorate, however, is expected to be whiter and more conservative than the country as a whole, and many of the year's highest-stakes Senate races are in Southern states, such as Arkansas, North Carolina, and Louisiana. So even if the law has gained some legitimacy with the broader public, it remains ominous for Democrats that repeal is the plurality position of likely voters," Politico said.

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

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