Congress has voted to cover all health insurance premium increases of their staffs, due to ObamaCare. The staffers were going to quit.
Some Congressmen and Senators argued publicly for an exemption.
What will happen to them in November 2014 if their opponents use this against them?
Maybe nothing, if their opponents in the primary use it against them. That’s because they will not make it to the general election in November.
As Ed McMahon used to ask Johnny Carson, “How bad is it?”
The poll data is clear and cuts across party lines: 92 percent of the public does not think it is right that Congress and their staff are letting the Obama administration exempt them from the costs of Obamacare. Yet it seems many in Congress still want to dismiss these findings in hopes that these sentiments won’t translate into actual voter preferences.
Incumbents facing reelections shouldn’t fool themselves. A recent real-world deployment of the issue shows it can powerfully impact candidates’ prospects.
We tested the effect of the congressional exemption issue in six different 2014 races, which represent different election archetypes. We launched incumbent-specific, small but targeted, week-long communications campaigns, using mail, phones and internet, (but no TV or radio), directed at 7,500 likely voters. Then we analyzed the criteria regularly used by campaign strategists to measure the strength of an incumbent’s reelection campaign: the “hard re-elect”, or the percentage of voters who say they will vote to reelect the incumbent; the “hard vote against”, or the percentage of voters who say they will vote against an incumbent; and the “ballot test”, or how the incumbent fares when matched up against his challenger.
The incumbents against whom we tested the issue were: Sen. Mark Udall, Democrat from Colorado; Sen. Mary Landrieu, Democrat from Louisiana; Sen. Lindsey Graham, Republican from South Carolina; Rep. John Tierney, Democrat from Massachusetts; Rep. Jim Matheson, Democrat from Utah; and U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, Republican from Idaho.
First archetype: How would the issue play in a GOP primary election, if the incumbent had taken the special exemption? We tested the case of Lindsey Graham, who already has three announced GOP primary challengers. After one week of messaging to the target universe, our after-action survey showed that his hard reelect number dropped 14 points, from 32/68 to 25/75; his hard vote against grew by 14 points, from 18/82 to 25/75; and he lost 12 points on the ballot test.
But wait! There’s more! Click the link.