Fresh off a Public Policy Polling survey showing her in statistical ties with four potential Republican opponents, a new poll from Elon Unversity shows North Carolina voters are increasingly unhappy the job performance of Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) and that healthcare is single most important issue on their minds.
The Elon Unversity poll found that 37% of voters approve of Hagan’s job performance, while 44% disapprove, a net-negative of 7 points. In September, the North Carolina-based school showed her approval rating slightly above water at 38/35.
North Carolinians have continued to sour on President Barack Obama. His approval rating is at 37/54, up from 38/51 in September.
The most prominent issue on the minds of North Carolina voters is healthcare (24%), followed by the economy (21%), jobs/unemployment (13%), and budget/debt (10%). Just 31% of voters in the state believe Obamacare will make healthcare better, while 54% say it will make thing. worse.
That’s an ominous sign for Hagan, given all of the attention currently on Obamacare, including the disastrous rollout of the federal exchange website and 473,000 health plan cancellations in the state.
Sheila Salter is a small business owner from North Carolina, founder of early2surg, a marketing company specializing in the surgical device industry. She is not happy that the health plan she had was taken from her and now has to purchase a much more expensive government-approved plan on the Obamacare exchanges.
Salter showed members of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee a chart comparing her pre-Obamacare plan cost her $202 a month and the plan she was offered through the exchange. The plan through the exchange has more than doubled her premiums. With the “essential benefit” mandate, the plan will cost her $584 per month, or more $4,584 each year.
“When I hear people talk about oh, you know, go to the exchanges, shop, shop, shop. You have one plan, okay? That plan includes the benefits listed in the left-hand column. Now you can see Sheila’s plan,” Salter told the committee, chaired by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA). “Sheila’s plan was the one that I chose. I chose my services. I’ve done that all these years. I chose those services, chose that deductible for $202 a month.”
“Now, with Obamacare, I have to have those ten essential benefits. Now I challenge anybody in this room to look at the services that I selected for myself, noting that I’m 61. I now I don’t look it, and I have no children or history of alcohol or drug abuse. Yet. Okay, because this is driving me to drink,” she said to laughter in the room. “But does anybody here really think that I need all the services on the left-hand column? I don’t think so.”
Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) once enjoyed solid leads over each of her potential Republican challengers. But the problems with Obamacare have caught up with her, according to a survey released yesterday by Public Policy Polling (PPP).
Hagan now finds herself in a virtual tie in head-to-head matchups with each of her potential Republican opponents, according to the PPP survey. She leads state House Speaker Thom Tillis, 44/42, and Heather Grant, 43/40. She also leads Mark Harris, 43/41. Each lead is inside the 3.7% margin of error.
Greg Brannon holds a slight edge over Hagan, 44/43. Though much of the national and state GOP establishment are behind Tillis, Brannon has been endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and is getting support from the grassroots.
Hagan’s approval rating is underwater, 44/49, and as is the approval rating of Obamacare, at 38/48. As far as the implementation of the law goes, 69% of North Carolina voters believe that it has been unsuccessful. Just 25% said that it’s successful.
With President Obama’s blessing, Hagan has emerged as one of a handful of Senate Democrats who have criticized the Obama Administration for the problems with the federal Obamacare exchange website and the millions of insurance cancellations triggered by the law’s regulations.
Vulnerable Senate Democrats — including Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Kay Hagan (D-NC), and Mark Begich (D-AK) — are pushing legislation that would allow at least some Americans who’ve lost their coverage because of Obamacare to keep it. They hope that this proposal will show voters that they are willing to change the law when a very real problem like this comes up.
But this about-face on the law may not be enough for constituents in their home states, given that they have supported Obamacare at every turn. Even in their support of legislation to mitigate the cancellations, they’ve still backed the law, not realizing, apparently, that the law is the problem.
American Crossroads, a conservative political action committee, is doing what they can to remind voters in Louisiana, North Carolina, and Alaska that their senators, who are up for re-election next year, allowed this to happen with their near unwavering support of Obamacare.
The group is running targeted ads to residents in those three states that features President Barack Obama’s now infamous broken promise that they if they like their plan, they can keep it, and headlines and comments from pundits calling attention to the lie. But the video for each state also shows clips of Landrieu, Hagan, and Begich making similar statements.
Republicans need to win a net of just six seats next year to talk control of the Senate. While their chances seemed relatively low in the wake of the government shutdown, the problems surrounding Obamacare may have given them a much needed lift.
That’s not lost on Senate Democrats. They now get the sense that their majority could be in jeopardy due to the glitches with the federal insurance exchange website and millions of cancellation notices sent to consumers that are a direct result of Obamacare. Needless to say, they’re in a panic (emphasis added):
Democratic senators from red states — the most vulnerable incumbents up for reelection next year — voted for Obamacare and have been among the law’s biggest champions, believing that voters would embrace it once they experienced its benefits. They could end up being some of the law’s most prominent casualties if its unpopularity continues to grow.
If voters continue experiencing problems like a balky website, canceled policies and higher premiums, the fallout could be brutal next November, Democrats acknowledge.
Americans for Prosperity, one of the most prominent grassroots conservative groups, has launched a $2 million cable TV, radio, and web ad buy in Louisiana and North Carolina, targeting two potentially vulnerable Democrats, Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Kay Hagan (D-NC) over their support of Obamacare and the fix for members of Congress and their staffers.
The ad running in Louisiana accuses Landrieu of siding with President Barack Obama over her constituents, majority of whom oppose Obamacare, and focuses on her comments about voting for the law again, if she had to. It also highlights the stories of higher health insurance premiums that are becoming more and more prevalent:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has endorsed Dr. Greg Brannon, who is seeking Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in North Carolina in what will be one of the key races in next year’s mid-term election.
“I enthusiastically endorse Greg Brannon for U.S. Senate because he’s a true constitutional conservative who will join me in fighting against business as usual in Washington,” said Paul in a release from the North Carolina Republican’s campaign.
Paul called Brannon the “clear choice for conservatives in North Carolina and said that the candidate would “provide vital reinforcements to help reverse out-of-control spending, restore constitutional limitations on our federal government, and fight back against President Obama’s agenda.”
“And as Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and I showed clearly in our campaigns, when you run on principle and excite the grass-roots Republicans, and Independents and even Democrats hungry for a change, you win,” said Paul. “That’s why I support Greg Brannon, and expect him to be North Carolina’s next Senator.”
“I urge conservatives in the state of North Carolina and across the nation to rally around Greg Brannon by contributing generously to his campaign and joining the grassroots volunteer effort to ensure that there is a strong Constitutional conservative Senator from North Carolina,” he added.
Brannon, who makes his career as an obstetrician, is one of several Republicans in field that includes North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis and Baptist preacher Mark Harris. He is running primarily on limited government issues very similar to Paul and other grassroots conservatives.
Heritage Action for America, the political arm of the Heritage Foundation, has announced $400,000 ad buy in four states — Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina — targeting vulnerable Democratic senators up for re-election in 2014 for their refusal to defund ObamaCare.
Sens. Mark Begich (D-AK), Mark Pryor (D-AK), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Kay Hagan (D-NC) have all voted against House-passed spending measures to avert or end a government shutdown, siding President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).
The ads, all of which can be watched below, have the same script, just substituting the names of the senators in the states where they will be run. The ad targeting Pryor will serve as an example.
“Mark Pryor promised to represent you. Instead, Mark Pryor is working for Harry Reid and Barack Obama to protect ObamaCare,” says the narrator of the ad as headlines and other imagery is displayed. “Why won’t Mark Pryor stop the shutdown and defund ObamaCare.”
“Three days into the Democrats’ government shutdown, Senators Begich, Pryor, Landrieu and Hagan have a decision to make: stand with President Obama to protect a failed law that is hurting the country or reject partisan politics to protect the people they’re supposed to represent,” said Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action, in a release announcing the ad buys.
As noted earlier today, the Obama Administration has released the rates yesterday for the state exchanges opening next month that will be run by the federal government. The rates, while lower than originally estimated, may still be unaffordable for someone trying to make it through these tough economic times.
But the senators up for re-election next year will, ultimately, have to explain to voters why they voted for the so-called “Affordable Care Act” — especially Sens. Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA), members who haven’t backed down from ObamaCare from states that went for Mitt Romney in 2012.
Below we’re taking a look at some of the states where we may see competitive Senate races next year and the effects of ObamaCare, using the same information from earlier today via the Wall Street Journal.
Here is a look at what a single, 27-year-old, non-smoker living in metropolitan areas in these states can expect to pay per month when they take out a “bronze” plan on the exchange, the least expensive available, compared to the lowest-cost, pre-ObamaCare rates (percentages are rounded down):
With former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) deciding to pass on the open seat in Montana, the odds of a Republican takeover have increased, according to Nate Silver, a political analyst with an uncanny ability to predict elections.
Republicans already had a fair chance to take control of the Senate before Schweitzer’s surprising announcement this past weekend. But with six seats currently held by Democrats in traditionally red states, three of which will be open seats, the odds are beginning to look favorable for Republicans.
“The G.O.P.’s task will not be easy: the party holds 46 seats in the Senate, and the number will very probably be cut to 45 after a special election in New Jersey later this year,” wrote Silver at FiveThirtyEight. “That means that they would need to win a net of six contests from Democrats in order to control 51 seats and overcome Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s tiebreaking vote.”
“A race-by-race analysis of the Senate, in fact, suggests that Republicans might now be close to even-money to win control of the chamber after next year’s elections,” adds Silver. “Our best guess, after assigning probabilities of the likelihood of a G.O.P. pickup in each state, is that Republicans will end up with somewhere between 50 and 51 Senate seats after 2014, putting them right on the threshold of a majority.”