Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), one of the most vulnerable incumbents facing re-election in 2014, released her first television ad of the midterm cycle on Monday. The ad, titled “Keeping the Promise,” touts Senator Landrieu’s “Keeping Affordable Care Act Promise” bill, which would require insurance companies to continue offering their existing health care plans under the new law.
“I’m fixing it and that’s what my bill does and I’ve urged the president to fix it,” Landrieu says in a clip featured in the ad.
“This is a promise that you made, this is a promise that you should keep,” she says to President Obama in another.
Landrieu’s attempt to distance herself from the president on health care underscores the importance of the Affordable Care Act to her re-election hopes. The third-term incumbent’s approval ratings have dropped since the controversial law’s rollout began, and early polling of the race suggests that she is very vulnerable to her Republican challengers, U.S. Representative Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and retired Air Force colonel Rob Maness (R-LA.) Both opponents are trying to make Landrieu’s support for the Affordable Care Act a centerpiece of the campaign.
There is some evidence that Landrieu’s approach could pay dividends, however. Although polls tend to show that the public is skeptical of the health care reform law, there is also ample evidence that people would prefer to see it improved, as opposed to completely gutted. Democracy Corps’ latest battleground poll, for example, finds that voters in 86 competitive House districts prefer “implementing and fixing” the health care law — Landrieu’s approach — to “repealing and replacing” it, by a 49 to 44 percent margin.