Two numbers that should reassure (and terrify) Democrats


FILE - Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh,File)

Two new polls from NBC News and Marist College are generally good news for Democrats. Both show the Democratic Senate candidates in Colorado and Michigan leading by more than previous polls -- Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) by seven points and Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) by six.

What the polls also show is that Obamacare is likely to be a major problem for both men.

In Colorado, 46 percent of voters say they "strongly" believe that passing Obamacare was a bad idea. And in blue-leaning Michigan, 44 percent agree.

OCarePoll
Source: NBC News/Marist polls

In both states, just slightly more than half as many registered voters say they strongly believe passing Obamacare was a good idea. In other words, many more voters are motivated by their distaste for Obamacare than by how much they like it. And the number who strongly dislike it is approaching half of all registered voters -- and probably even closer to half among likely voters, which NBC/Marist didn't break out.

To the extent that close to half of voters in either of these states really dislike Obamacare, it's bad news bears for Democrats.

What's most interesting about those numbers, though, is that they are actually worse for Obamacare and Democrats than we've seen from other polling.

The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has asked for years whether people thought Obamacare was a good or bad idea. Never before have as many as 44 or 46 percent of all Americans said they strongly believe Obamacare was a bad idea. It's generally around 40 percent nationwide.

The fact that this number is higher in these two battleground states (one of them blue-leaning) suggests the GOP's Obamacare advertising blitz could be having some effect.

At the same time, even if those ads are working, they aren't yet putting Republicans in front. Udall's lead is bigger than his lead in an April Quinnipiac University poll, which he led by just 2 percentage points over Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), and Peters's lead is one of the biggest he has shown. (Some early polls showed Republican Terri Lynn Land actually leading).

Close to half of voters might really dislike Obamcare, but so far they aren't all translating that into voting for Republicans.

Of course, we're still almost four months from Election Day, and many voters haven't really thought things through or gotten to know the candidates. You can bet Republicans will continue hammering away at the Obamacare issues in the months ahead in Colorado and Michigan and reminding people that both Udall and Peters voted for the law.

And these polls make clear that both of these states are quite receptive to that argument.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
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