Passing health-care reform could be harmful to the health of congressional Democrats.I addressed that Gallup Poll Karl is rattling on about here, and Nate Silver has taken on the FOX News poll here. The reality is that Americans want Democrats to get off their lobbyist genuflecting knees and pass real health care reform, and they are running out of patience.
Just look at how President Barack Obama's standing has fallen as he has pushed for reform. According to Fox News surveys, the number of independents who oppose health-care reform hit 57% at the end of September, up from 33% in July. Independents are generally a quarter of the vote in off-year congressional elections.
Among college graduates, opposition to health-care reform is now 50%, while only 33% support it, according to Gallup's Sept. 24 poll. College graduates are slightly more than a quarter of the off-year electorate.
Among seniors, opposition to ObamaCare hit 63% in last month's Economist/YouGov Poll. But the number from that poll that should spook Democrats is this: 47% of seniors said they "strongly" oppose health-care reform, just 27% "strongly" support it. Seniors are the biggest consumers of health care, and their family members will probably take their concerns seriously. Seniors will likely cast about 20% of the votes next year.
The trend behind these numbers is that voters are turning away from Democrats. In 2006, the year the GOP lost control of Congress, Democrats enjoyed a double-digit lead in several "generic ballot" polls—a measure of voters' party preference. Democrats held that lead until this year. Today, Gallup's generic ballot shows Democrats have a razor thin 46% to 44% edge. According to Gallop's numbers, independents now favor Republicans by nine points.
If Karl Rove is trying to convince Democrats that they shouldn't pass health care, let's keep in mind Karl Rove doesn't have the best interests of the Democratic Party in mind. Do the opposite of what he says, and you win. After all, the Republicans listened to him in 2006 and look what happened...