posted on November 13, 2013 10:05
Is Senator Kay Hagan overreacting on Obamacare, or should Democrats rush to the lifeboats and abandon ship?
If you go by the N&O website’s headline – “Hagan calls for probe of healthcare website as political support drops” – you’d panic. After all, she had a conference call with reporters to call for investigations of the botched launch. The same day, Public Policy Polling said her race has tightened because of “early attack ads” and “the unpopular rollout of Obamacare.”
The hardest thing to do in politics is to underreact. But sometimes you should heed the wise words of ESPN Game Day’s Lee Corso: “Not so fast, my friend.”
First question (which we can’t answer): Are Hagan’s polls showing that Obamacare is really changing votes? Or is she doing this on the excitement plan, caught up in overheated hype and headlines?
What is the real evidence that Obamacare is moving votes now? Was it or wasn’t it a factor in Virginia? Even some Republican polls say no.
Or is this just the usual fluctuation in the polls? Republicans were down last month when the shutdown dominated the news. Democrats are down this month when Obamacare dominates the news. Next month it may be something else. Next year it will certainly be something else. If not, Hagan has no hope.
Here’s what PPP says about Obamacare: “It's always been unpopular in North Carolina and currently 38% of voters say they approve of it to 48% who disapprove, numbers pretty consistent with what we've found over the years.”
The approve/disapprove numbers, then, haven’t changed much. And 48-38 isn’t a margin that decides elections.
PPP goes on: “But what's really hurting Democrats is its being back in the news- 69% of voters say its rollout has been unsuccessful so far to only 25% who deem it a success.”
True that. And Hagan’s call for investigations put the story – and her drop in the polls – at the top of Page One.
Then she faces this reaction from Democrats, summed up by Joe Sinsheimer: "I practiced national politics for two decades as a Democratic consultant, and one of the few lessons I really learned, is that politicians who ‘try to have their cake and eat it too’ are rarely successful. When you try to hedge your positions, your enemies rarely believe you, and you just anger your supporters….Perhaps someone should call Sen. Hagan's office and explain this to her. She is not going to get re-elected attacking Obamacare.”
What’s the alternative? Remain calm. Step away from the ledge. Repeat after me: “This website mess needs to be fixed. But we’d also better fix our health care mess. If we don’t, it will bankrupt our nation and every family in it. What's the Republicans’ plan?”