May 10, 2018

As midterms loom, health care is a Democratic issue

There are not a lot of voters heading into the midterms focused mainly on health care, but the ones who are, are Democrats. That is the undeniable thrust of the Kaiser Family Foundation's latest tracking poll.

Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll conducted April 20–30, 2018; Graphic: Chris Canipe/Axios

By the numbers: Overall, just 20% of the people Kaiser surveyed said health care is the most important issue in the midterms — but a sizable majority of those people are Democrats.

Yes, but: Policy is not the main thing driving Democrats this cycle. A plurality (30%) said they would vote primarily based on candidates' support or opposition to President Trump.

The bottom line: This poll seems to validate the conventional wisdom: After several years in which health care — namely, opposition to the Affordable Care Act — was motivating Republican turnout, health care is now back to its historical status as an issue that animates the left more than the right.

  • Kaiser's various questions about voters' motivations also seem consistent: Democrats are energized because they oppose Trump, and health care repeal is part of the reason why.

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Data: AARP/Harris Poll; Chart: Axios Visuals

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DNC chair to hit Trump on health care in battleground states tour

Perez speaks in Memphis in April. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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Why it matters: Health care is the top issue for voters in survey after survey and may be Democrats' greatest strength heading into the 2020 elections, while impeachment and Iran are less clear winners.

Go deeperArrowJan 8, 2020