Voters at Edison High School in northeast Minneapolis on Aug. 14. (Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via AP)
Opinion writer

The Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds:

Three in ten voters (33 percent of independent voters, 32 percent of Democratic voters, and 25 percent of Republican voters) say corruption in Washington is the “most important” topic for 2018 candidates to discuss. This is the first time corruption in D.C. was included in KFF’s list of possible campaign topics and, along with health care (27 percent) and the economy and jobs (25 percent), it is among the top topics for voters three months before the 2018 midterm election.

This suggests Republicans have a huge problem. Not only do voters see a series of plea deals, Paul Manafort’s conviction and numerous resignations due to corruption (e.g., Tom Price, Scott Pruitt), but they also see Republicans are unwilling to do anything about it. House Republicans won’t kick out two members who have been indicted, nor will they hold hearings on possible conflicts of interest, violations of the emoluments clause or anything that might expose the White House to scrutiny.

Moreover, a very large percentage of independent voters care a whole lot about corruption, as do Democrats. “A larger share of independent voters want to hear the candidates discuss corruption (33 percent) than any other topic except health care (26 percent).”

There is more bad news for Republicans:

KFF polling continues to find pre-existing conditions as a widespread concern and with the impending lawsuit Texas v. United States, a majority of the public say it is “very important” that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) protections for people with pre-existing conditions ensuring guaranteed coverage (75 percent) and community rating (72 percent) remain law. About half (52 percent) of the public are “very worried” that they or someone in their family will have to pay more for health insurance and four in ten (41 percent) are “very worried” they will lose their coverage if the Supreme Court overturns these protections. . . .

Nine in ten Democrats (86 percent), three-fourths of independents, and 58 percent of Republicans say it is “very important” that insurance companies cannot deny coverage because of a person’s medical history. Similarly, a majority (88 percent of Democrats, 71 percent of independents, and 56 percent of Republicans) say it is “very important” that health insurance companies cannot charge sick people more. Even among those living in households without anyone with pre-existing conditions – therefore, unlikely to be affected negatively by this change in policy – a majority say it is “very important” these protections remain.

This is a problem for those Republican lawmakers who voted to repeal Obamacare, who voted for the tax bill (stripping out the individual-mandate penalty) and who declined to defend coverage for preexisting conditions in the lawsuit. In other words, just about every Republican incumbent can be criticized for his or her cavalier attitude toward the single most important health-care issue for voters.

These dual concerns — corruption and health care — are pronounced in battleground states. “Corruption in Washington D.C. (32 percent), the economy and jobs (27 percent), and health care (26 percent) are the top topics among voters living in areas where there are competitive House, Senate, or Governor races. Voters in areas with competitive elections – similar to voters, generally – are less likely to prioritize candidates talking about immigration (17 percent), Russian meddling in the U.S. election (17 percent), tax cuts and tax reform (16 percent), President Trump’s Supreme Court nomination (15 percent), and gun policy (14 percent).”

Republican candidates who thought they could get by talking about tax cuts may be flat wrong. It’s their lack of concern about preexisting-condition coverage protection and about endemic corruption in Congress and in the White House that may be their downfall. That’s precisely how democracy is supposed to work: Politicians get held accountable for both action and inaction.

Read more:

Anne Applebaum: Want to revive the political center? Fight corruption.

Paul Waldman: Democrats’ new argument for why they should be in charge: ‘Corruption’

The Post’s View: Trump’s tweets criticizing Jeff Sessions mark a grotesque new low

Paul Waldman: Republicans embrace a hideously unpopular position just before the elections

Jennifer Rubin: If Republicans lose big, this will be why