The Spectacle Blog

Obamacare Vote Tipping the Scales?

By on 10.1.10 | 7:44AM

Two political scientists -- Steven Greene at North Carolina State University and Seth Masket at the University of Denver -- write in The News & Observer of Raleigh today about their analysis of the votes on Obamacare (both for and against) by Democrat Congressmen in swing districts (the poli sci guys call them "conservative" districts). Their methodology isn't clear to me, but here are their findings anyway:

Our results...further bolster the case that voting in favor of health care created lasting damage for Democratic members in conservative districts. With our controls, we found statistically significant evidence that Democratic supporters of health care reform are running just over 3 percentage points behind Democrats who opposed the bill.

Typically, of course, most members of Congress running for re-election win by much greater margins than 3 percent, but this is not a typical midterm election. In 2010, for Democratic incumbents from conservative districts in a distinctly anti-Democratic year, 3 points is serious business. Indeed, of the 41 Democrats we examined, only six are forecast to win by more than 3 points - and none of those voted for health care reform....

Many political forecasters are predicting that the Democrats will lose control of the House in November. This outcome would be driven largely by the state of the economy and by Obama's relative unpopularity. However, the health care vote may determine some of these races at the margins, causing some Democrats who voted for the legislation to go down to narrow defeat.

My unscientific analysis is that Democrats in swing districts who voted for Obamacare are going home by large margins. But not just for that reason.

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