Conservative Media Use Midterm Results To Misleadingly Claim Americans Support A Repeal Of Obamacare

Conservative Media Use Midterm Results To Misleadingly Claim Americans Support A Repeal Of Obamacare

››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

Conservative media have used Republican electoral gains in the 2014 midterm election to renew calls to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But recent polling indicates that most Americans do not support repealing the healthcare law, including midterm voters.

Conservative Media Argue Midterm Election Gave Republicans Mandate To Repeal Obamacare

Laura Ingraham: Midterm Results "Indicate The Country Hates Obamacare" And "Want  To Get Rid Of It." During the November 6 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show, Ingraham claimed that electoral results "indicate the country hates Obamacare" and that they "want to get rid of it" (emphasis added): 

INGRAHAM: [Republicans] better be very careful not to alienate the very people who showed up to vote in this midterm election cycle. Because if they alienate them, I think this is going to be a rocky road to 2016. So I understand what Rand Paul is saying, look he is right to some extent, right -- we don't have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. At the same time, we do have electoral results that indicate the country hates Obamacare, want to get rid of it, replace it with something else. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show11/6/14]

Limbaugh: Republicans Won The Midterms ''Running Against Obamacare." Discussing midterm election results on the November 5 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh claimed that Republicans had "won big ... running against Obamacare" and that Republicans have "a mandate" to "stop Barack Obama," not to govern. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show11/5/14]

Fox's Sean Hannity: Republican Party Has Mandate To Repeal Obamacare. During the November 5 edition of Premiere Radio Network's The Sean Hannity Show, Hannity argued that Republicans "need to repeal Obamacare," pointing to the party's "mandate" to work against President Obama's policies. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show11/5/14]

Wall Street Journal: Karl Rove Advocates For Repeal Of Obamacare Citing Voters' "Disgust" For Liberal Policies. In a November 5 opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, Fox News contributor Karl Rove argued that the midterm elections demonstrated voters' "disgust with a six-year liberal experiment." Rove wrote that Republicans should begin "a measure repealing ObamaCare" despite President Obama's assertion that he would veto such legislation were it to move forward:

The GOP's victories were bigger and more numerous than the final polls predicted as undecided voters expressed their disgust with Mr. Obama's six-year liberal experiment gone wild.

[...]

There must be a measure repealing ObamaCare, even though the president's veto will be sustained. Republicans should respond to a veto with regret, not fury, and with bills that kill some of ObamaCare's onerous provisions, like those that cause people to lose their plans or doctors. [The Wall Street Journal11/5/14]

Polls Don't Support Conservatives' Claims That Voters Gave GOP A Mandate To Repeal Obamacare

ABC News: Nearly Half Of Midterm Voters Say Obamacare "Was About Right" Or "Didn't Go Far Enough." According to ABC News, national exit polls of 2014 midterm voters revealed that:

47 percent say the federal health care law "went too far" - a minority, but we'll see whether it impacts vote choices. (The rest either say it didn't go far enough, 26 percent, or was about right, 22 percent.) [ABC News, 11/4/14]

Wall Street Journal: "Obamacare Is Not A Big Issue With Midterm Voters." According to an October 28 article by the Wall Street Journal, a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that the Affordable Care Act was "not a big issue with midterm voters." Pointing to just 8 percent of respondents who rated it as the "most important issue" factoring into their upcoming vote, the article went on to explain that the healthcare law was "no longer a guiding issue for Republicans":(emphasis added)

Last fall, with the HealthCare.gov rollout making headlines, it was reasonable to think the Affordable Care Act might be a big issue in the midterms. But a year later, with implementation moving much more smoothly, the health-care law does not appear to be much of a vote-mover. When asked to choose the most important issue to their vote in the upcoming midterm election, just 8% of registered voters picked the health-care law in October Kaiser Family Foundation polling. That put the ACA behind the economy (16%) and dissatisfaction with government (12%); as an issue it ranked on par with education (10%), the situation in Iraq and Syria (9%), and immigration (6%). Twenty-nine percent of voters did not say that any of the nine issues Kaiser asked about were extremely important to their vote. That could be because no single issue outshines another or because voters consider other factors-such as their views of candidates' personal characteristics-more important.

In a midterm, what matters most are the views of the smaller slices of the electorate most likely to turn out.When it comes to the ACA this includes Republicans, especially the far right, which has always been the most passionately opposed to Obamacare. Here, too, as the chart above shows, the ACA is no longer a guiding issue for Republicans; it is now just one of many issues on the minds of Republican voters, as it is for independents and Democratic voters too. [The Wall Street Journal10/28/14]

Rasmussen Poll: Just "39% Of Likely U.S. Voters Want" To Repeal The Affordable Care Act. According to an October 20 Rasmussen poll, only 39 percent, a minority, of "likely U.S. voters want Congress to repeal Obamacare in its entirety and start over again." [Rasmussen Reports, 10/20/14]

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