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GOP's 'repeal health law' strategy could backfire in fall

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Election 2010

GOP's 'repeal health law' strategy could backfire in fall

Independents, swing voters don't like the idea as much as base does

Politico reports that several goals of Republicans – including the repeal of the health care law – "put them at odds with the majority of voters, according to a new survey by Resurgent Republic," a nonprofit polling and research group established by "GOP operative" Ed Gillespie to assist conservatives and Republicans. "The findings, unveiled at a Tuesday morning panel by the group, highlight a major challenge faced by Republicans headed into the 2010 election cycle: While their base appears more motivated than that of the Democrats, they will have to find ways to address hot-button issues like healthcare, immigration and climate change that do not alienate critical independent and swing voters."

Among respondents who identified themselves as Republicans, "support for a repeal-and-replace strategy [on the health law] was 67 percent, compared to 36 percent among independent respondents." Leslie Sanchez, a GOP strategist said "The extreme language of 'repeal and replace' is not widely accepted by independents as a pragmatic solution"  (Vogel, 5/4). 

Meanwhile, The Los Angeles Times reports that while Republicans across the country may be touting their opposition to the health law, "in California, the three GOP Senate candidates vying to take on Sen. Barbara Boxer face a much more daunting task: convincing a majority of Californians who support the bill that they are wrong. The issue is a stark reminder of the difficulties facing Republican candidates in this highly partisan state, even in a year when the political winds are at their backs." During the primary season, the GOP is courting "a conservative lot who fiercely oppose the new law." In the November general election, "the winner of the June primary will have to sway voters who by and large support the plan, and who continue to hold Obama, its architect, in high regard" (Mehta, 5/5).

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent news service. It is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health-care-policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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