Politics

Liberal Groups Release Polls Showing Health Care Could Hurt GOP Incumbents

Release comes one year after House Republicans passed their health care bill

Members of the New Jersey Citizen Action group protest outside the Capitol on July 26, 2017, as the Senate held a second day of voting on health care legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A coalition of liberal groups is releasing new polling to show that health care could be a key issue in the midterms,  and that a vote for the Republican health care plan last year could come back to hurt  GOP incumbents. 

The polls, commissioned by the Health Care Voter coalition, were conducted in seven House districts and statewide in Nevada and Tennessee. The results, shared first with Roll Call, come one year after House Republicans and President Donald Trump celebrated passing the GOP health care bill, which would have dismantled parts of the 2010 health care law. That effort stalled in the Senate and the bill did not become law.

A sizable percentage of voters surveyed said they were less likely to support Republican incumbents who voted for the GOP health care bill. More voters surveyed in the districts also approved of the health care law than disapproved.

“It has been one year since House Republicans proudly voted for health care repeal, and it is clear that their constituents have neither forgotten nor forgiven them,” Tim Hogan, a spokesman for Health Care Voter, said in a statement. “Voters across the country are poised to rally against the failed legislative agenda of Speaker [Paul D.] Ryan and his cohorts.”

Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, surveyed between 600 and 700 registered voters in each district and state via automatic landline phone interviews from April 30 to May 1. The polls had margins of error that ranged from 3.7 points to 4 points. 

The districts polled include those represented by GOP Reps. Scott Tipton (Colorado’s 3rd); Brian Mast (Florida’s 18th); David Young (Iowa’s 3rd); Bruce Poliquin (Maine’s 2nd); Brian Fitzpatrick (Pennsylvania’s new 1st); George Holding (North Carolina’s 2nd); and Fred Upton (Michigan’s 6th).

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting all those districts. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Fitzpatrick’s race Tilts Republican, Upton and Poliquin’s races Lean Republican, and Young’s contest Likely Republican. Tipton and Holding’s races are both rated Solid Republican.

In each of the districts, between 39 percent and 49 percent of those surveyed said the lawmakers’ vote on the GOP health care bill made them less likely to vote for the incumbent. The highest percentage was in the Nevada poll, which tested reaction to Republican Sen. Dean Heller’s votes to repeal much of the 2010 health care law.

Twenty-seven percent to 36 percent of voters surveyed said the health care vote would make them more likely to support the Republican candidate. Between 19 percent and 23 percent of those surveyed said the health care vote did not make a difference.

Asked how Congress should address the health care law, a majority of those surveyed — between 58 percent and 66 percent — chose “keeping what works and fixing what doesn’t” over “repealing it and starting over with a new health care law.”

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