Obamacare in the Election Spotlight

As Americans head to the polls tomorrow there can be no doubt that Obamacare is driving their vote.  A new poll, released yesterday by Pew, sums it up:

The economy has dominated much of the campaign debate this fall, but it is not the only issue on the minds of voters. Asked to choose among a list of six issues, 38% of likely voters selected the job situation as the most important issue in their vote. Nearly a quarter (24%) selected health care, and 19% picked the deficit first.

Health care is cited by a 53% majority of voters when given the opportunity to cite two issues.

Obamacare is driving voter turnout and enthusiasm, especially amongst conservatives.  And it’s made for some interesting political theater in the campaigns.  Look no further than the first and only debate between Representative Gene Taylor (D-MS) and challenger Steven Palazzo.  Taylor’s opposition to Obamacare was clear:

The bottom line is I bucked my own president, my own party’s leadership and voted against this bill. I was the first Democrat to sign the discharge petition. I was the first Democrat to say I would vote for its repeal.

Not only was Taylor the first Democrat to sign onto the repeal effort, he was the only one.  None of his 33 Democratic colleagues who opposed Obamacare have signed on to support repeal:

Bobby Bright (D-Alabama)
Artur Davis (D-Alabama)
Robert Berry (D-Arkansas)
Mike Ross (D-Arkansas)
Jim Marshall (D-Georgia)
Walt Minnick (D-Idaho)
Daniel Lipinski (D-Illinois)
Ben Chandler (D-Kentucky)
Charlie Melancon (D-Louisiana)
Frank Kratovil (D-Maryland)
Stephen Lynch (D-Massachusetts)
Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota)
Travis Childers (D-Mississippi)
Ike Skelton (D-Missouri)
John Adler (D-New Jersey)
Harry Teague (D-New Mexico)
Michael Arcuri (D-New York)
John Barrow (D-New York)
Michael McMahon (D-New York)
Larry Kissell (D-North Carolina)
Mike McIntyre (D-North Carolina)
Heath Shuler (D-North Carolina)
Zach Space (D-Ohio)
Dan Boren (D-Oklahoma)
Jason Altmire (D-Pennsylvania)
Tim Holden (D-Pennsylvania)
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-South Dakota)
Lincoln Davis (D-Tennessee)
John Tanner (D-Tennessee)
Chet Edwards (D-Texas)
Jim Matheson (D-Utah)
Rick Boucher (D-Virginia)
Glenn Nye (D-Virginia)

Harvard’s Robert Blendon told POLITICO’s Pulse why voting no on Obamacare may not be enough for voters:

Saying, ‘I didn’t vote for it but I’m not for repealing it’ isn’t going to be a big winner in conservative areas, where they want you to say, ‘Let’s roll this back.’

It’s clear that Americans are looking for action and leadership, not rhetoric and symbolism.

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