Tags: 2014 Midterm Elections | Healthcare Reform | Nancy Pelosi | larry sabato | elections | backlash | obamacare

Sabato: Democrats Wasting Time Running on Obamacare

By Greg Richter   |   Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 06:06 PM

Democrats are wasting their time talking about Obamacare as the November midterm elections draw nearer, says political scientist Larry Sabato. Most people have already made up their minds about the subject, he said – and they don't like it.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has said it's the other way around: Republicans are wasting their time trash-talking Obamacare – or as she is quick to correct, the Affordable Care Act – and she urges Democrats to embrace it.

But Sabato, appearing Thursday on Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto," said Pelosi is from a deeply blue district, San Francisco, so she can tout Obamacare endlessly and suffer no political consequence.

The problem for Pelosi and fellow Democrats, Sabato said, is that in every single reliable survey for more than a year a majority of Americans have been opposed to Obamacare.

Pelosi argues that the best defense is a good offense.

"The problem with that is, when you are on offense, using your time in the public arena to discuss a subject that people more or less have already made up their minds about, you're wasting your time in the arena," Sabato told Cavuto.

Those who favor Obamacare are in the minority, and they aren't really that enthusiastic about it, Sabato said. The majority who oppose Obamacare are much more charged up. And they're the people who tend to turn up in a low-turnout midterm election.

Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and other Democratic leaders have insisted that as the public gets used to Obamacare they will embrace it.

"There's just one problem: There isn't the slightest evidence of that," Sabato said.

And Democrats run the risk of even more backlash by continuing to tout the success of Obamacare to people who don't see it in their own experience.

"Therefore, if you're a Democrat you are better off talking about other things," he said.

It's not just the public that isn't buying Democratic leaders' line; neither are candidates in close elections, especially those in red states.

Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana is among them. As Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius promoted the ACA in New Orleans Thursday with the mayor, Landrieu's brother Mitch Landrieu, the Democratic senator herself was 187 miles away in Lake Charles giving a speech to an oil and gas group.

Byron York of the National Examiner told Cavuto that's a strategy she'll stick with: avoiding Obamacare and talking up energy.

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