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.