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Obamacare Unpopularity And Predicting 2014

Memo Pad Politics

Obamacare Unpopularity And Predicting 2014


As far as the electoral effects of Obama’s approval rating, surely any effect was long ago baked into this election. Indeed, it’s not clear that the bungled rollout of the ACA in October had any effect on Obama’s approval ratings. According to the polling average at Huffington Pollster, the president lost ground from his second inauguration up through mid-November, when his approval flattened out. At least, maybe. Look at the trend line that’s more sensitive to short-term changes (the “less smoothing” option), and it appears that Obama suffered accelerated losses for about five weeks ending in mid-November; since then, his approval has actually been recovering. And since October was also the month of the government shutdown and debt-limit scare, there’s really no way of disentangling what exactly hurt presidential approval at that point.

Kraushaar, however, assumes a hard link between what people say about an issue in a poll and how they make their vote choice. He also makes the classic mistake of hyping a special election; the press has done a pretty good job so far of refraining from claims that the upcoming election in Florida’s 13th congressional district will tell us anything about November 2014, but alas, Kraushaar goes all-in on the hype. And while early in his column he says that the difference between 2012 and 2014 is the facts, rather than the “quality of the messaging,” by the end of the column he winds up talking about the quality of the ads.

The truth about 2014 is that Republicans will likely do well in Senate races because they have excellent opportunities — Democrats are defending several seats in good Republican states, and midterm elections usually go against the incumbent party. The other important factor will be whether Obama continues to be mildly unpopular or if his approval ratings take a sharp turn in one direction or another. If that happens, however, the reasons will most likely have little to do with health care.

(Jonathan Bernstein covers U.S. politics for Bloomberg View. He is co-editor of The Making of the Presidential Candidates 2012. Follow him on Twitter at @JBPlainblog)

Photo: Speaker Boehner via Flickr



  1. Bill Thompson February 20, 2014

    In America one thing is for certain, the population has a very short memory. The government shutdown the endless stream of crazy comments coming from the GOP will be quickly forgotten. The negative effects on our economy due to obstructionism will be forgotten come polling time. The GOP strategists of fully aware of this fact and hammer away on two or three subjects, they are focused and unrelenting. One only has to look as far as Facebook or the news to see the endless anti-Obamacare barrage on a daily basis. Make no mistake this issue will be used in this campaign in a very effective way to rally the troops. In the Northeast the message is very clear and has been very effective, to the point of very progressive people openly speaking out against this legislation. At least in the area in which I live this will be a major factor in the upcoming 2014 election. The Democrats need to quickly, effectively and in a singular voice pick one or two issues and start hammering away at them, or this upcoming election is going to be disastrous from my point of view.

  2. FT66 February 20, 2014

    Some journalists write what is in their heads and try very hard to convince people who read their articles to fall in line of what they think. This reminds me before 2012 General Election, when they tried hard to convince people that Dems are not enthusiastic to vote. This was a total lie. Dems came out in drove and proved them wrong. Now writing that Obamacare to be a decisive factor in 2014 mid-term election is another try as they did in 2012. Sometimes we have to ask ourselves: are there some incentives these journalists may be receive to write all these nonsense? Why can’t they write as their opinion/views on something instead of planting their thoughts in people’s heads?

  3. charles king February 20, 2014

    One thing that The President has taught the American public (Critical Thinking) it works. The President knows he would not have been re-elected if the People had not looked at the facts off the election, Man that is What? critical thinking is all about, it works against all the Bull-S*** that your opponent puts out. WHO? the hell are these people Which? think the public are stupid. Why? are they so hell bent on getting into the different seats of Power. MONIES are not the winners of Power under our Democracy the VOTE is still supreme. The GOP should get with running the country and stop trying to take over the country. Democracy ” For the People, By the People, and Of the People, so GOP just stick with the program and get the hell out of the way so that we all can grow. Thank You are the magic words with me. I Love Ya All. Keep an alert-out for Plutocracy VS Democracy . Mr. C. E. KING

  4. Bill February 20, 2014

    What does the GOP have to offer the American People? NOTHING!

  5. howa4x February 20, 2014

    Obama already ran a blistering campaign defending the ACA and won by 5 million votes. The GOP has not put up a plan that people will buy into since it’s much worse, they have to run on the government shutdown. Also they have to run on failure to pass immigration reform, or a jobs bill, failure to extend unemployment benefits, removing funds from programs that feed children, failure to allow reasonable background checks to pass, trying to always restrict access to contraception/abortion, calling climate change a hoax, failing to fund infrastructure rebuilding, trying to repeal Dodd/ Frank, as well as the ACA. Trying to pass laws against same sex marriage in red states and denying access to health care to over 5 million in red states. So would you rather run on this record in the general election or the democratic one?

    1. Independent1 February 20, 2014

      Let’s hope that the majority of Dems running for Congress in 2014 make the electorate in their state aware of a lot of the GOP negatives that you just listed.

      1. howa4x February 21, 2014

        There are more independents, and democrats than republicans. We all have to get out and vote and put the tea party out of it’s misery and power

    2. Allan Richardson February 22, 2014

      The only thing Republicans have to offer is the status quo ante. That’s Latin for the mess we WERE in before.

  6. Barbara Morgan February 21, 2014

    Democrats need to start campaign now not later and they need to repeat all the things the Republicans have done to hurt the Country and 99% of its population over and over and over again every day that way voters can not forget what the GOP has done. Also all of us need to ask people that complain about the President and his policies what has the Republican Party done in the past 5 years to help you, your family and this Country then shoot down anything they thing they come up with because all can be shot down .


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