Obamacare Woes have Democrats Worried about Senate

Tuesday, 26 Nov 2013 12:40 PM

By Courtney Coren

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The ongoing problems with Obamacare has Senate Democrats worried about their election odds next year as pollsters and strategists work to help their clients figure out how best to survive the midterm campaign.

While President Barack Obama's pollster Joel Benenson told Democrats in a memo last Tuesday to shift their focus back to the economy, other political strategists argued that while Democrats don't want to make their election about Obamacare, it can't be ignored either, the National Journal reported.

"You want to prevent your race from being about Obamacare," Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster working for Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, told the Journal. "If you enable your race to be about Obamacare, you're making a mistake."

At the same time, Mellman said, Democrats need to be offering solutions to the troubled law.

"You need to explain what you're trying to fix, and you better be trying to fix something," he added. "If there's nothing you're trying to fix, there's something wrong with you."

Vulnerable senators like Landrieu and Joe Manchin of West Virginia have both offered fixes. The Louisiana Democrat would like to allow Americans to keep their current plans, and Manchin is seeking to delay the individual penalty for those who don't sign up by March 31.

A new poll released Tuesday shows that the Obamacare troubles have shifted support away from Democrats to Republican candidates in one month.

Democrats are hoping things will turn around by November 2014, as the White House continues to say that the healthcare website will be largely fixed by the Nov. 30 deadline.

"If the election were held today, Republicans would probably win back the majority," said a Democratic strategist who tracks Senate internal polling.

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