With the political world still pondering what yesterday’s court rulings mean for the future of Obamacare, CNN has published a fascinating new poll that asks a question I haven’t seen before. It asks whether the law has personally helped respondents, but then follows up and asks whether respondents think the law has helped others.
And guess what: A huge majority of Republicans and conservatives don’t think the law has helped anybody in this country.
Among all Americans, the poll finds that 18 percent say the law has made them and their families better off. But another 35 percent say the law has made other families better off, for a total of 54 percent who say they or others are being helped. Meanwhile, 44 percent say the law hasn’t helped anybody — a lot, but still a minority.
Crucially, an astonishing 72 percent of Republicans, and 64 percent of conservatives, say the law hasn’t helped anyone. (Only one percent of Republicans say the law has helped them!) By contrast, 57 percent of moderates say the law has helped them or others. Independents are evenly divided.
Perhaps these numbers among Republicans and conservatives only capture generalized antipathy towards the law. Or perhaps they reflect the belief that Obamacare can’t be helping anyone, even its beneficiaries, since dependency on Big Gummint can only be self-destructive. Either way, the findings again underscore the degree to which Republicans and conservatives inhabit a separate intellectual universe about it.
This matters going forward. As Philip Klein has observed, yesterday’s decisions could producing a “uncertainty” about the law’s fate that could reinvigorate the repeal movement at a time when many in the party have quietly been standing down from repeal. The apparent belief among Republican voters that nobody is benefiting from the law, even as it kicks in for millions, suggests that zeal is very much alive.
One other point. It has long been said a problem for Dems is that most people don’t think they are personally benefiting from the law. Today’s CNN poll confirms that. But as Charles Gaba notes, the fact that 18 percent of Americans say the law is helping them is actually good news. Beyond that, though, if many Americans are persuaded others are benefiting from it, and it fades as a negative for Dems at the same time, that would be a heartening development. Indeed, while generalized disapproval of the law remains very real, today’s CNN poll finds that only 38 percent oppose it because it’s “too liberal.”
* MICHELLE NUNN TO FACE DAVID PURDUE: Businessman David Purdue defeated Rep. Jack Kingston in yesterday’s Georgia Republican Senate primary, and while many expected Kingston to win, polling averages show Dem Michelle Nunn equally competitive against both, and this will be a competitive race, in a deep red state.
Dems were set to paint Kingston as a longtime Washington politician in contrast with Nunn’s work for charity organizations. Now they’ll attack the self-funded Purdue — the former CEO of Dollar General and Reebok — as an out of touch plutocrat. Americans United for Change is already out with a memo hitting him as “Mitt Romney Lite.”
* CAN DEMS FLIP GEORGIA? Politico has an excellent big picture piece on the possibility that Dems could win with Nunn and also gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter, and what that tells us about the state’s shifting demographics:
Democrats here don’t have to wait for the demographic projections to come true. The state’s voting population is already much more African-American than even 10 years ago, Latinos are on the rise, and there’s a business community relocating to the Atlanta metro area at a pace that looks a lot like the migration to Northern Virginia and the North Carolina research triangle the past 15 years that turned both states into presidential battlegrounds.
Let’s face it, the state is still very tough for Dems this year. But as Carter puts it: “Georgia’s next in line as a national battleground state. If you look at sheer numbers, people can dispute whether it’s red or blue, but everybody knows where it’s headed.”
* BUT NUNN FACES MAJOR CHALLENGE: Nate Cohn has a good piece recapping why Nunn has a very plausible chance of winning, but also the short term challenge she faces:
The big challenge is whether Ms. Nunn can keep it up now that Mr. Perdue has won the nomination. Candidates often get a boost in the polls after wrapping up a primary, in part because of the media attention but also because they usually consolidate their partisans. For good measure, Republicans will now be able to turn their fire at Ms. Nunn, who has basically had a free ride….Ms. Nunn will probably fall behind as Mr. Perdue consolidates Republican-leaning voters and gets around to attacking her.
But as Cohn notes, the mere fact this race appears to be seriously in play underscores the state’s striking demographic changes. Worth watching: Whether pundits begin treating Georgia (and Kentucky) as true toss-ups in the vein of Dem-held Colorado and Iowa.
* CHARLIE CRIST LEADS IN FLORIDA: A new Quinnipiac poll finds Charlie Crist leading GOP Governor Rick Scott by 45-40, though the margin shrinks when you add in the libertarian candidate. The polling average shows the race much closer, at 44.4-43.
Republicans initially spent huge sums tying Crist to Obamacare, but the Q-poll finds 65 percent don’t view the president a a factor in their vote, while only 16 percent view their vote as against Obama and 16 percent view it as for him — a wash.
* DEMS PLAN MAJOR FALL AD ONSLAUGHT: Roll Call has a good piece recapping a key feature of the Senate landscape: Embattled Dem incumbents are sitting on huge stockpiles of cash for this fall’s advertising wars:
Even with incumbents such as Sens. Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska already spending significantly on the airwaves, Democrats running for the party’s most endangered seats also continued to sit on significant war chests primed for a post-Labor Day advertising assault….With a few months to go, this was the first fundraising period that saw numerous candidates eclipse $2 million raised, with several topping $3 million and one even reaching $4 million.
The Dems’ theory is that the candidates themselves, as opposed to outside groups, are far better at spending on ads, since they can better emphasize their own achievements and roots in their states — meaning any disparity in campaigns’ spending helps Dems.
* AND WHAT IF MITCH McCONNELL LOSES? Politico reports that Republicans are increasingly asking that question:
In interviews and private conversations with more than half of the 45-member Senate Republican Conference, there is a split over a potential McConnell successor. His top deputy, John Cornyn of Texas, is favored to succeed him, several GOP senators said. But others ranging from John Thune of South Dakota to Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander — or a dark horse — are among those who could get serious consideration in the event of a leadership vacancy…The parlor game is playing out while McConnell is in a fight for his political life with polls indicating a dead-heat race threatening his nearly three decades in the Senate.
Who knew this debate was running so deep among Republicans?