Elections revolve around issues, particularly those Americans rate as highly important. A CBS poll conducted between November 15 and 18 suggests that 15 percent view healthcare as the most important issue facing the country today. The top named concern was the economy and jobs, with 31 percent.
In the 2014 midterm races, both will be major campaigning points for candidates, but for now, it appears that health care will be the more bitterly contested of the two. Support for the Affordable Care Act has ebbed in the wake of a botched rollout, and website plagued by technical issues.
Rasmussen Reports polling shows that 56 percent of people now believe the law will worsen the state of healthcare in the country, compared to 52 percent who held the same view in October. A poll by CNN/ORC has 58 percent opposing the law. This is transitioning into Republican support, according to another question in the CNN/ORC poll. When asked who they would vote for in their Congressional district, if the 2014 midterms were held today, 48 percent said a Republican, and 41 percent would favor the Democrat. Of independents, 53 percent chose the Republican, and 36 percent the Democrat.
In October, when the same question was asked, Democrats had the edge, taking 50 percent of voters to the Republicans’ 41 percent. With each side giving almost full support to their party’s candidate, the election will fall into the hands of Independents, something Republicans and Democrats are well aware of.
The Democrats likely received a bump in favorability due to the government shutdown. The swift change shows how fluid support is for either party on Capitol Hill right now, easily influenced by major political events.
With the Administration, and President Obama, saying HealthCare.gov is “working well for the vast majority of users,” the President hopes to change the tone of the debate, and mood of the country on his signature piece of legislation. ”We’re not going back,” the President said while speaking on Tuesday. “I mean, that seems to be the only alternative that Obamacare’s critics have is, well, let’s just go back to the status quo — because they sure haven’t presented an alternative.”
Republicans view the matter differently. During a press conference, also on Tuesday, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) tied the economy to the ACA, saying the law continues to “wreak havoc on American families, small businesses, and our economy.” Boehner did not mention a return to the “status quo,” rather the goal of the Republicans was to prevent Americans from being harmed by the provisions of the ACA.
“This bill is fundamentally flawed, causing people to lose the doctor of their choice, causing them to lose their health plan. And if that isn’t enough, they’re having to pay much higher prices at the same time,” Boehner said, “So, House Republicans are going to continue to listen to our constituents, listen to the American people, and try to focus on protecting them from a fundamentally-flawed law.”
Politicians can propagate their views on the healthcare law as much as they want, but the majority of Americans (53 percent) believe it is too soon to tell if the law has failed, according to the CNN/ORC poll. Doubtless, each side will try to bring that majority in line with their own thinking in 2014.