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PA Voters Less Likely to Vote for Candidates Who Supported Affordable Care Act, Poll Says

A new poll out from the Robert Morris University Polling Institute shows that Pennsylvania voters are more likely than average Americans to oppose the Affordable Care Act in the context of mid-term elections.

RMU asked 1,006 American adults and an additional 501 Pennsylvanians if they knew that a member of Congress had voted for the Affordable Care Act, would it make them more or less likely to vote for that person.

Philip Harold, a professor of political science at RMU and one of the faculty members on the committee responsible for the poll, said the question they asked was unique from other polls about the ACA.

“The phrasing is different from just approve or disapprove of the Affordable Care Act,” Harold said. “We’re asking how it’s going to affect people’s vote.”

Harold said the poll shows that about 40 percent of all respondents indicated they are somewhat or much less likely to support a candidate that supported or voted for the ACA. Among likely voters, that figure edges up slightly to 42 percent.

“It’s not popular in the context of midterm elections, number one,” Harold said. “Number two, opposition to it in the context of midterm elections is stronger in Pennsylvania than nationally.”

In Pennsylvania, 48.7 percent of likely voters said they are less likely to support such a candidate, compared to 27.6 percent who said they are more likely to support such a candidate.

Harold said the RMU faculty committee was surprised to find that, in the context of mid-term elections, women are more likely to oppose the Affordable Care Act than men, which runs counter to other poll results.

“Single men and single women support Obamacare,” Harold said. “Single men actually support it in this poll more than single women do. Married men are fifty-fifty basically, which means that amongst likely voters, opposition to Obamacare is being driven by married women.”

Harold said it’s difficult to extrapolate the results of the poll to the upcoming Democratic gubernatorial primary in the spring and the gubernatorial election in the fall.

“Pennsylvania voters are ticket-splitters, so asking the question about Congress is not necessarily going to affect the top of the ticket governor race,” Harold said.

Among likely voters, about 29 percent self-reported as Republican, 33 percent as Democrat and 35 percent as Independent. The remainder self-identified as belonging to another party or to no party, or were unsure of their party affiliation.

The poll was conducted by the Center for Research and Public Policy with funding from Trib Total Media.

Jerry Lindsley is the president of the Center for Research and Public Policy and contributed $1,000 to the group Romney for President in 2012.

Liz Reid began working at WESA in 2013 as a general assignment reporter and weekend host. Since then, she’s worked as the Morning Edition producer, health & science reporter and as an editor.
WESA will be surveying Pennsylvania candidates for federal and state office for the 2022 general election — tell us which issues are most important to you.