If Republicans win big in November, don’t thank the Tea Party. The elderly and independents dislike the president’s healthcare bill. Their opposition to the President’s signature legislative achievement will go a long way in explaining any success that Republicans might have come election day.
A new Gallup/USA Today poll show that the country is still deeply divided over the bill. Gallup finds that 49% of Americans think the healthcare bill is a good thing, while 46% say it’s a bad thing. For the president, this marks a small improvement from Gallup’s previous two polls, both of which found a majority of Americans having a negative view of the bill. But one thing has not changed: old people hate the healthcare bill. This fact more than any other explains why the GOP should succeed come November.
The poll finds that an overwhelming 60% of “seniors” aged 65 and older think the healthcare bill a bad thing. This figure is offset in the polling by middle aged and younger Americans, who tend to feel more positively about this legislation. But while the 20 to 50-somethings inclined to approve of Obamacare might offset the impact that disgruntled seniors have on a tracking poll, they certainly won’t show up in large enough numbers in November to mitigate the impact that the scores of elderly voters will have on Democratic candidates. Old people vote, young people typically don’t. And as the poll numbers show, the elderly are none too pleased with the president and the Democrats.
Senior citizens were widely opposed to the bill from the start. It’s not hard to figure out why. More than any other group, the elderly tended to be insured; and more than any other group, the elderly were satisfied with the cost of healthcare in the days before the president signed his health reform bill. A July 22, 2009 Gallup poll found that the demographic least likely to be without insurance was Americans 65 and older (only 3.6% reported being without health coverage). This of course makes sense: if you are over 65, you are eligible to receive Medicare benefits. And the group wasn’t just covered…they were also disproportionately satisfied with the cost of their healthcare. The elderly were satisfied with both the quality and cost of their government provided healthcare. Another Gallup survey, this one conducted on September 23rd of last year, found that 79% of recipients of either Medicaid or Medicare were satisfied with their healthcare costs.
The new poll also notes that independents, whose move to the left played a large role in putting the Democrats in charge in 2008, frown upon the new healthcare bill by an 8 point margin (51% to 43%). Gallup notes that this number is virtually identical to its April survey, meaning that independents are not warming up to the president’s bill.
With the elderly seeking revenge and independents finding little to like about the president’s signature issue, it is hard to imagine Democrats doing anything but losing big come November.