Dems’ 2014 Problem: GOPers Hate Obamacare More than Dems Love It

Obamacare animosity might be enough for Republicans to retake the Senate in the fall. That has become the consensus among political strategists and analysts and a poll released Thursday is bearing it out.

The Pew Research Center poll underlined the 2014 problem for Democrats: Republicans voters were more likely to say that the health care reform law would be very important to their vote than Democrats by a 12-point margin, 64 percent to 52 percent.

The same dynamic showed up in the raw approval numbers for Obamacare: Republicans were more opposed (83 percent disapprove; 10 percent approve) than Democrats were supportive (73 percent approve; 16 percent disapprove).

Thursday’s poll is just one data point, but it tracks with others that have been released recently. A Bloomberg poll released last month found that 73 percent of Americans who support repealing Obamacare said that they would definitely vote and that health care would be a major factor. Those numbers fell off among those who support keeping the law in place.

It’s a problem that Democrats are well aware of.

“People strongly believe that it’s being used for base intensity and for driving base turnout,” Stan Greenberg, a top Democratic pollster, told TPM last month. “People are very alert to that.”

The fundamentals are already working in the GOP’s favor — Democratic constituents are historically less likely to vote in midterm elections and the party is defending deep-red seats that it won during President Barack Obama’s historic 2008 campaign.

Democrats believe that they have some ways to counter that built-in GOP advantage. They’re investing heavily in an Obama campaign-style turnout effort and focusing on economic issues — a minimum wage increase and equal pay for women, to name two — that are popular, both with their base and more broadly.

But Thursday’s Pew poll is a reminder of the challenge they face.

The poll, conducted from April 3 to 6, surveyed 1,010 U.S. adults. Its margin of error was 3.6 percentage points.

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