Obamacare? Voters are kind of over it.


(Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

Obamacare is still a mainstay in campaign ads, and conservatives unhappy about President Obama's signature health-care law won't let the issue rest anytime between now and Nov. 4 (or even after).

But as electoral wedge issues go, it's certainly lost its luster.

Case in point: A new George Washington University "Battleground" poll shows that, on the list of things that people think are wrong with this country, Obamacare actually ranks pretty low. As in behind-"other" low.

The poll shows seven in 10 likely voters think the country is off on the wrong track. But unlike other pollsters, it then asked a follow-up question about why people were unhappy.

Of the 70 percent who said the country was off on the wrong track, just 5 percent offered a reason having to do with Obamacare. In other words, only about 3.5 percent of all Americans think Obamacare is the bane of American existence right now.

Battleground
Source: George Washington University

By contrast, among the much-smaller universe of people who think the country is on the right track -- about one in five Americans -- more than 21 percent cite health care as the reason for their cheer. Extrapolating that number over the universe of right-track voters, and you get 4.5 percent of people who think the Affordable Care Act is the No. 1 reason for optimism.

Our public-school math tells us 4.5 percent is larger than 3.5 percent.

No, this does not mean that Obamacare is a net-positive for Democrats at the ballot box. Another 19 percent of wrong-track voters cite Obama (the man) as the reason for their gloom, and Obamacare likely plays into that number (among other things).

But it's also clear that the issue that was looking like a silver bullet for Republicans six months ago has largely faded as a priority. And this isn't the first poll to suggest this. A month ago, a new Kaiser Family Foundation survey showed Obamacare more unpopular than ever, but as far as an issue that people actually wanted to see addressed, it ranked behind basically every other major issue.



That doesn't mean it doesn't remain a vote-driver for conservatives and tea party types, but more broadly, it's currently lost amid a muddle of other issues -- many of which, we would emphasize, are making people quite unhappy.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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