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DNC memo on health care reform

Health Reform and the Elections by The Numbers

Ø Of all the factors that contributed to Republican gains in the Congressional elections, the President's health care reform does not appear to have been the significant drag on Democratic candidates.

ü High levels of dissatisfaction with the progress of the economy and disapproval of Congress' performance were much more significant drivers of the vote.

Ø 62% cited the economy as the most important issue facing Congress in the next two years, while health care was cited by only 18%.

ü Among those who cited the economy, Republicans won 53-44.

ü Among those who cited health care, Democrats won 53-45, meaning that only 8% of those who said that health care was their top issue voted for a Republican.

Ø As it has been all year, the nation is evenly divided on the reforms, which have yet to be fully implemented.

ü In last night's exit polls, 47% said they believed the health care reform should either be expanded or kept the way that it is, while 48% said it should be repealed.

Ø This may slightly overstate the role health care played in the Republican vote.

ü 11% of those who would prefer to see the bill repealed also voted for a Democrat in the house election.

ü This means that there is no calculation that shows that a majority of Americans want to see health care reform repealed and voted for a Republican Congress to do it.

ü Only 41% of voters last night both want to see the reforms repealed and voted Republican.

ü While this is a significant portion of the electorate, it would not have been enough, on its own, to generate the Republican gains.

· Indeed, there could a be a risk to Republicans if they make repeal of health care reform their first agenda item: 18% of those who voted Republican want to see the bill either expanded or kept as it is.

Ø Among those Democrats who faced competitive races, those who voted for the reforms fared significantly better than those who voted against it.

ü Among the 93 competitive races (as rated by either the Cook Political Report) that have been called, 67 featured Democrats who voted for reform and 25 featured Democrats who voted against reform.

ü 35 Democrats who voted for reform won re-election, while 32 did not, for a win percentage of 52%.

ü 8 Democrats who voted against reform won re-election, while 16 did not, for a win percentage of 33%.

Ø Also, among Democratic Senators facing re-election, only 2 of the 12 who voted for reform were defeated, Blanche Lincoln and Russ Feingold.

Ø The data point clearly to voters showing dissatisfaction with economic progress and with the performance of Congress over the past two years.

Ø Only 25% approved of the performance of Congress while 73% disapproved.

ü Moreover, 50% said they were "very worried" about the economy, while another 36% were somewhat worried.

Ø While it's clear that health care played a role in Congress' high level of disapproval, it was not a significant enough driver to generate the Republicans' strong gains in the House.

By Greg Sargent  | November 4, 2010; 10:40 AM ET
 
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