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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What America Thinks: Obamacare’s Role in the National Election

President Obama's greatest policy achievement since being elected to office has been the Affordable Health Care Act. It’s a measure that affects every American, yet has never garnered a majority of the public's support and has never been viewed by voters more favorably than unfavorably. In 2009, all 58 Democratic Senators voted to pass the law. Not a single Republican in Congress voted for the law. With midterm elections approaching for the first time since the new healthcare law has been implemented, is it possible that Obamacare could take control of the Senate away from Democrats and give it to the GOP? We decided to find out what America thinks.

Currently, 41% of voters nationwide have a favorable view of Obamacare, compared to 56% who see it unfavorably. In all 6 of the Senate races we currently rate as toss-ups, voters have an even more unfavorable view of the law. In 3 of those states--Kansas, Arkansas and Louisiana--unfavorables are currently above 60%. In the 2 races that lean Republican, voters view the law either more unfavorably or just as unfavorably as voters on the national level do. In 2 of the 3 Democratic-leaning states, voters tend to view the law more favorably.

In every one of these states, most voters who view the law Very Favorably would vote for the Democrat, while most of those who view it Very Unfavorably choose the Republican. The Democrat earns a larger percentage of the vote from those with a Very Favorable view of Obamacare, but in every state the number of voters with a Very Unfavorable opinion far outnumbers those with a Very Favorable view. So the Republican is earning sizable majority support from a much bigger pool of voters.

All this suggests that the health care law remains a strong issue for Republicans and could be the key factor in determining whether they pick up the 6 new seats they need to take charge of the Senate.

For Rasmussen Reports, I’m Alex Boyer. Remember, if it’s in the news, it’s in our polls.