Monday, January 25, 2010

Fickle Independents and Healthcare Reform

Fickle independents, shifting their votes to Brown, were widely viewed as a key factor in Brown's Massachusetts victory.  Their vote will certainly be very important in the upcoming mid term elections.  So here's the crucial question....Can the Dems on The Hill move forward with Healthcare Reform while maintaining the independent vote, at least on the Healthcare Reform issue?  The answer lies in how independents view specific items within the legislation.

Kaiser Family Foundation has an interesting poll which looked at overall support for the legislation, and the level of support for specific items contained within the legislation.  The poll found 42% in support of the legislation and 41% in opposition. With those identifying themselves as independents, 41% supported the legislation and 43% opposed it.  But independents opposing the legislation appeared much more entrenched with 35% strongly opposing the legislation compared to only 19% strongly favoring the legislation.

However, Independents were clearly behind specific issues.  When asked if a specific proposal will make them more likely to support the bill independents they clearly supported some of the specific line items.  Issues viewed favorably included tax credits for small businesses (74% saying it would make them more likely to support the bill), the establishment of healthcare exchanges (69%), Donut Hole closure (65%), taxes on wealthy to help foot the bill (59%), and even covering the uninsured including subsidizes (57%) and Medicaid Expansion (59%) (although when asked about the $871 billion ten year cost of the legislation support almost completely dried up with only 14% supporting the cost figure)

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