TIME 2014 Election

Dem Poll: Support for Implementing Obamacare Rises in Battlegrounds

The data bodes well for Democratic strategy heading into the midterms in November

Support in battleground congressional districts for implementing Obamacare has increased sharply in recent months, according to the Democratic pollsters at Democracy Corps.

In December last year, amid a contentious rollout and weeks of bad news surrounding the problem-plagued healthcare.gov website, support among likely voters in competitive congressional districts for repealing the Affordable Care Act was 45 percent, slightly behind the 49 percent support for keeping and fixing the law. As of April 2014, support for repeal is essentially unchanged at 42 percent, near the margin of error. Support for putting Obamacare into effect with some improvements is a full 10 points higher, at 52 percent.

Even districts currently controlled by the GOP, support for repeal—46 percent last December, compared to 47 percent supporting implementation—is now 42 percent, a full 11 points behind the 53 percent who support allowing the law to go into effect.

The shift seems to have come via Independents, who have seen a massive swing away from supporting repeal by a 12 percent margin in December to supporting implementation by 7 percent today.

Democracy Corps, founded by veteran Democratic politicos Stanley Greenberg and James Carville, assembled the data for the benefit of Democratic candidates and it does seem to bode well for Democrats heading in the otherwise grim 2014 midterm elections, a contest where Democrats have very little chance of winning the House and a significant risk of losing the Senate.

The GOP has made problems with Obamacare a cornerstone of its national strategy. Democrats, once afraid to run on the ACA during the law’s awkward roll-out phase, think they’ve found a clever messaging angle in positioning the GOP as wanting to repeal a law from which people are already benefiting. Declining support in for repeal in competitive districts suggests this strategy may have some teeth. Republicans, meanwhile, have in recent months shifted their message to emphasize plans to replace parts of the ACA after repealing the President’s signature achievement.

The poll surveyed 750 likely midterm voters in 50 competitive, GOP-held congressional districts and 500 likely voters in 36 competitive, Democratic-held districts from April 10-15 with a margin of error for all respondents of +/- 2.77 percent.

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