A few interesting notes this morning from pollster Scott Rasmussen of Rasmussen Reports, all pertaining to the Senate health care reform bill, the special Medicaid deal procured by Sen. Ben Nelson in exchange for his vote, and Nelson’s own re-election prospects as tied to the health bill.
On the bill itself, here are the facts according to Rasmussen:
- Only 17 percent of Nebraska voters approve of the shady Medicare deal Nelson made in exchange for his essential vote a week ago yesterday.
- Nebraska voters are more opposed to the bill than the rest of the nation. There, 64 percent oppose the bill, and 53 percent are “strongly opposed.”
- 62 percent say that the legislation will increase health care costs.
- 56 percent say that the legislation will decrease quality of health care.
With regard to Nelson’s prospects in 2012 against a possible challenge from Republican Gov. Dave Heineman, this is where it gets really interesting:
If Governor Dave Heineman challenges Nelson for the Senate job, a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey shows the Republican would get 61% of the vote while Nelson would get just 30%. Nelson was reelected to a second Senate term in 2006 with 64% of the vote.
When survey respondents were asked how they would vote if Nelson blocks health care reform, 47% still pick Heneman while 37% would vote to keep the incumbent in office. Twenty percent (20%) of those who initially said they’d vote for Heineman say they’d switch to supporting Nelson. Another six percent (6%) of Heineman supporters say they’re not sure what they’d do if Nelson stops the health care plan from becoming law.
If Nelson votes to block health care reform, 10% of all voters would prefer a third-party option. Most of those who would prefer a third choice initially said they would vote for Nelson.
In other words, if Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson–who did not want a health care bill which provided federal funding of abortion but voted for a bill which would provide such funding in more than a dozen states once the price was right for his own–votes against final passage of the Democrats’ health care reform bill once the final vote comes up some time early in the new year, he stands to close the electoral gap by 21 points.
This bill isn’t dead by a long shot. But it hasn’t passed, either. I’d suspect that Nelson’s Nebraska isn’t the only state in which reelection turns on this vote. All the more reason to keep hammering these people, and keep supporting those who are fighting this bill.
The Democratic Party leadership has shown that they don’t care whether the so-called “Blue Dogs” lose their seats so long as they pass this hallmark piece of legislation. Lawmakers, however, care about themselves first. Numbers like those in Nebraska might just be enough to make them think twice.