President Barack Obama’s Obamacare law has Democratic candidates in a political quandary, the Associated Press reported on Sunday.
The latest Associated Press poll finds that only 28% of Americans support Obamacare, despite the fact that the law has been in effect for over four years. That has Democratic candidates scrambling to find a way to communicate about an issue that nearly one in five voters says will determine the candidate they support in the Nov. 4 midterm elections.
So far, Democratic candidates have muddled their message and refused to answer whether they would have voted for or against Obamacare had they been in office in 2010 when the law passed.
Democratic Georgia Senate candidate Michelle Nunn and Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes will not directly answer how they would have voted. Just last week, Grimes twice refused to give a straight yes or no answer.
“I, when we are in the United States Senate, will work to fix the Affordable Care Act,” said Grimes.
Democratic Sen. John Walsh of Montana dodges the issue by reminding people he was appointed in February and therefore not around for the Obamacare vote.
“I did not vote on the Affordable Care Act — just want to make that clear,” said Walsh.
Embattled Senate Democrats like Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas have also struggled with how to message Obama’s toxic health care law and find themselves in key battleground races that could swing control to Republicans.
President Barack Obama has urged his fellow Democrats to “forcefully defend and be proud” of his deeply unpopular signature legislative achievement. Obama added, “I do not think we should apologize for it. I don’t think we should be defensive about it.”
Privately, however, Democratic strategists, pollsters, and lawmakers say Obamacare is an electoral loser. One Democratic member of Congress told the New York Times that issue has made Obama “poisonous” to Democratic candidates.
“We’re trying to deny what everyone knows is happening,” a veteran Democratic pollster toldPolitico. “Anybody who is halfway intelligent knows this is a big …problem for us. It’s impossible not to see. We can try to hide our headsin the sand and pretend it’s not a problem, but it is.”
Last month, Democratic pollster Celinda Lake said the midterm elections look ominous for Democrats.
“I’m worried this could be a disaster,” Lake said flatly.
Obamacare will cost U.S. taxpayers $2.6 trillion over the next 10 years.
Voters head to the polls in 163 days.