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Sunday, December 11, 2016

The conventional wisdom among political pundits regarding the 2014 midterm elections is that Democrats are going to get hammered at the polls because of the unpopularity of the Affordable Care Act. But according to a new Quinnipiac survey of American voters, Republicans may have to do more then campaign against Obamacare to ensure a victory in 2014. The poll suggests that the minimum wage — a hallmark of many Democratic campaigns — may well swing support to candidates who are in favor of raising it.

According to the poll, 50 percent of Americans are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports a minimum-wage increase. This number is higher, for example, than the 40 percent who say they are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports the Affordable Care Act.

Similarly, support for a minimum-wage increase is greater than the percentage of voters who oppose the Democratic plan for immigration reform. According to the poll, 39 percent are less likely to back a candidate who supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, while 29 percent say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports the measure.

This all suggests that the minimum wage makes a solid issue for Democrats to campaign on, while distancing themselves from some of the more unpopular initiatives of the Obama administration.

Tim Malloy, assistant director of Quinnipiac’s polling institute, explained what this means for Democratic congressional candidates seeking election in 2014. “Congressional candidates [had] better watch out for the mines as they step into Obamacare and immigration, but supporting a higher minimum wage looks like an easy issue,” Malloy said.

Riding President Obama’s coattails may also prove to be dangerous on foreign policy issues. This was President Obama’s least popular area in the poll, but the issues mattered deeply to voters — 80 percent of voters are either “deeply concerned” or “somewhat concerned” that the situation in Ukraine could lead to a larger regional conflict that involves the United States. To make matters worse for Democrats, 55 percent of voters gave President Obama a negative rating on foreign policy issues, while just 39 percent view his foreign policy decisions favorably.

The poll, which surveyed 1,578 registered voters in the United States, was conducted from March 26-31 and has a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points.

Photo: pbarcas via Flickr

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