Poll: candidates backing health care likely victors in November

mcd worker

Candidates who support health care reform are the likely winners in the elections Nov. 2, a major new poll has found.

A new survey by the Public Research Institute trashes "conventional" wisdom that a public angry about health care reform will reject candidates who support it on the campaign trail.

Fifty-four percent of voters say they would be more likely to back a candidate who supported health care reform, according to the poll. That number includes 51 percent of independents and 70 percent of Democratic voters.

"This isn't a shock to anyone who's actually been on the ground in 50 states, organizing," Arshad Hasan, executive director of Democracy for America, told the Huffington Post. His group provides grassroots support for progressive candidates. "We've been shouting this from the rooftops all year, and this data backs it up. Most people are tired of being ripped off by big insurance companies and were hungry for reform. If anything, people are upset that reform wasn't stronger."

A Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking poll also found that 49 percent of the public has a "generally favorable" view of the Affordable Care Act, and 40 percent have an unfavorable view.

A third poll by Associated Press this week found that "Americans who think the law should have done more outnumber those who think the government should stay out of health care by 2-to-1."

Democrats around the country are hearing the message and embracing their support for health care reform as they campaign.

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., is touting his record as one of taking on the insurance companies and passing health care reform.

His Republican opponent, Ron Johnson, said he had entered the race to repeal health care reform but in the $7 million TV ad campaign Johnson has run, there is no mention of repealing the Affordable Care Act.

"Russ has the backbone to stand by reform while Johnson doesn't have the guts to stand by his plan to repeal reform," John Kraus, an adviser to Feingold, said.

In North Dakota, Democratic Rep. Earl Pomeroy, who was an early skeptic of reform and is in serious danger of losing to his GOP opponent, is now embracing health care reform on the campaign trail.

Pomeroy is running an ad accusing Rick Berg, the Republican, of "putting big insurance first" and "voting to make it easier for insurers to deny coverage." The ad is clearly reflective of the fact that, for a long time now, polls have shown that there is widespread public support for the components of the Affordable Health Care Act even where confusion about the bill as a whole results in some saying they oppose the law.

Ads running this week by Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., show various constituents warning Republicans to "keep your hands off my healthcare."

There are also signs, meanwhile, that millions now covered by second-rate health insurance plans are beginning to realize that the new law will help them get real insurance.

An article in the New York Times yesterday discussed McDonald's workers, who have a plan they pay $750 a year for and that caps benefits at $2000. The hamburger executives have threatened to cancel even that meager plan rather than comply with the new law, which mandates that policies actually pay the kinds of bills people get.

"In 2014, however, the choice for McDonald's workers," the Times article said, "will no longer be between a bad policy and no policy. Through the exchanges, [and with the subsidy they will be eligible for], they will be able to buy a real health insurance plan."

Photo: McDonald's workers should see their health care improve in 2014, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. http://flickr.com/photos/hypertypos/2643036749/ CC 2.0

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