Health Care Puts House in Play

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s new national poll finds that Republicans are facing significant backlash over the health care bill that’s having the effect of firing up Democrats and putting them in position to make major gains in the House next year.

Democrats now have a 49-38 lead overall on the generic Congressional ballot, up from 47-41 a month ago. Even more notable though is that among voters who say they’re ‘very excited’ to turn out in the 2018 election, the Democratic lead balloons to 27 points at 61-34. The outcome of lower turnout midterm elections often hinges on which side is more engaged, and Democrats have the clear advantage at this point on that front- 63% of their voters say they’re ‘very excited’ about voting in next year’s election, compared to only 52% of Republicans who say the same.

The American Health Care Act has been a complete disaster politically for Republicans.  Only 25% of voters support it, to 52% who are opposed. Even among Republican voters there’s only 49% support for the measure, while Democrats (76%) are considerably more unified in their opposition to it. Voters say by a 20 point margin that they’re less likely to vote for a member of Congress who supported the AHCA- just 27% say they’re more likely to vote for a pro-AHCA candidate, compared to 47% who are less likely to vote for one.

The health care debate has left Congress with a 15% approval rating and 68% of voters disapproving of it. Paul Ryan (25/59 approval) and Mitch McConnell (21/55 approval) are both very unpopular individually as well. 

The current health care debate is also stoking new found respect for the Affordable Care Act. By a 53/27 spread, voters say they prefer the current ACA to the new AHCA. And just 29% of voters say they want to repeal the Affordable Care Act at this point, to 64% who would prefer to keep it and make fixes as necessary.


Americans don’t like James Comey. Only 24% see him favorably, to 40% who have a negative opinion of him. But they don’t like the decision to fire him either. Only 37% support Donald Trump’s decision to fire Comey, to 48% who are opposed. Voters aren’t buying the officially stated reasoning behind Comey’s firing- 54% think the FBI’s investigations into Russian involvement in the 2016 election is the reason Comey was fired, to only 34% who say they don’t think that’s what it was. Something else voters- even Trump voters- are very clear on is that it’s not the job of the FBI director to be loyal to the President. Overall only 23% of voters think the FBI director needs to be loyal to the President, to 66% who say that is not their job. This view is held emphatically by Clinton voters (8/87) but also by a plurality of Trump voters (38/48).

We find 62/28 support both for an independent investigation into Russia’s involvement in the election generally, and for the appointment of a special prosecutor specifically. We find that an increasingly large percentage of voters think that Russia did want Trump to win the election- 60% now say that Russia was pulling for Trump to only 16% who claim they think Russia wanted Hillary Clinton to win. Voters are still pretty evenly divided though when it comes to whether they think Trump’s campaign team and Russia directly worked together to try to influence the election- 43% say they think there was collusion between Russia and Trump’s aides to 38% who don’t think there was.

The stakes for Trump on this issue are high- if it does turn out his campaign coordinated directly with Russia, 54% of voters think he should resign to only 34% who believe he should stay in office. And voters do want to see the bottom of this story gotten to- only 33% consider it to be ‘fake news.’

General Attitudes Toward Trump:

Only 40% of voters approve of the job Trump is doing to 54% who disapprove. For the first time we find more voters (48%) in support of impeaching Trump than there are (41%) opposed to the idea. Only 43% of voters think Trump is actually going to end up serving his full term as President, while 45% think he won’t, and 12% aren’t sure one way or the other.

Voters are both having buyer’s remorse about the outcome of the 2016 election and wishing they could return to the good old days of 4 months ago. By an 8 point margin, 49/41, they say they wish Hillary Clinton was President instead of Trump. And by a 16 point margin, 55/39, they say they wish Barack Obama was still in office instead of Trump.

One thing hurting Trump is that Americans expect honesty from their President and his aides, and they feel like they’re not getting it. Last week Trump tweeted that it was unreasonable to expect his press staff to always tell the truth, but 77% of voters say they do expect the President’s Press Secretaries to tell the truth all the time compared to only 14% who say that isn’t that expectation. Only 38% of voters say they consider Trump to be honest, to 55% who say they don’t think he is. And a majority of voters (51%) outright say they consider Trump to be a liar to 41% who say they disagree with that characterization.

One issue that’s not going away is Trump’s failure to release his tax returns. 62% of voters continue to think he needs to release them, to only 29% who think it’s not necessary for him to. 61% would even support a law requiring candidates for President to release 5 years of tax returns in order to appear on the ballot, with just 28% opposed to such a provision.

When it comes down to it voters don’t think Trump has delivered on the core promise of his campaign- just 34% think he has ‘Made America Great Again,’ while 55% think he has not.

Looking Toward 2020:

It’s very early, but Trump trails by wide margins in hypothetical match ups for reelection. He does particularly poorly against Joe Biden (54/40 deficit) and Bernie Sanders (52/39 deficit.) There’s significant defection from people who voted for Trump in November in each of those match ups- 15% of Trump voters say they’d choose Sanders over him and 14% say they’d choose Biden over him.

Trump also trails Elizabeth Warren (49/39), Al Franken (46/38), and Cory Booker (46/39).

We also looked at Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s prospects if he were to run for President as a Democrat. 36% of voters see Johnson favorably to 13% with a negative view of him, although 50% of voters have no opinion about him either way. Both Democrats (38/15) and Republicans (31/17) see him positively. Johnson would lead Trump 42/37 in a prospective contest, and wins over 15% of people who supported Trump last fall.

Other Notes: 

-Only 16% of voters think that Andrew Jackson would have stopped the Civil War to 43% who don’t think he could have, and 41% who aren’t sure. We also asked if voters think that Donald Trump could have stopped the Civil War though, and 41% of his supporters think he would have stopped it to 21% who don’t think he could have, and 38% who aren’t sure. Overall only 20% of voters think Trump could have stopped the Civil War to 53% who don’t think he could have.

-21% of voters want the Warriors to win the NBA title to 17% for the Celtics, 14% for the Cavaliers, and 8% for the Spurs. Clinton voters are pulling for the Warriors, while Trump voters are narrowly pulling for the Celtics. 40% don’t care who wins. 20% of voters want the Penguins to win the Stanley Cup to 15% for the Ducks, 10% for the Senators, and 9% for the Predators.  46% don’t care who wins that one.

Full results here

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