Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Canary In The Coal Mine

Josh Marshall looks at how Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is doing back home.

In a word, lousy.

A few moments ago I noticed a new PPP poll showing that Mitch McConnell seems to have been damaged significantly in his home state of Kentucky by the effort to repeal Obamacare. The number that caught my eye was that McConnell has an astonishing 74% disapproval rating with just 18% approving of his performance in office. A hypothetical Democrat beats him by 7 percentage points. But that only tells part of the story.

McConnell is down at 18% approval. But Trump has a 60% approval rating in the state. If voters are upset with McConnell’s dogged efforts to repeal Obamacare, why is Trump doing so well? Or is it that McConnell failed to repeal Obamacare? And Good Lord, how can Mitch McConnell have a 74% disapproval rating? Congressional leaders always have low approval. See Boehner, Pelosi, Gingrich, et al. But that’s nationally. They almost always maintain strong support in their own states or districts. After all, that’s how they keep getting reelected. This is just a snapshot long before McConnell will face reelection in 2020. But for now the poll shows McConnell trailing a Democratic opponent 37% to 44%.

The conclusion he comes to is that despite the fact that Kentucky is a very red state — Trump won in with 62% of the vote over Hillary Clinton — they love their version of Obamacare implemented by then-Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat.  Of course they don’t call it “Obamacare” because well duh, but the majority of the people like what they get and they’re not in favor of those who would rip it out.  McConnell leading the attempt to end Obamacare probably doesn’t win him any support back in his old Kentucky home among the coal miners.

Is this an object lesson for other Republicans who have gone out on the limb with Trump and the folks who would not lose any sleep over 22 million people losing health care as long as they get to keep their own?  Yes, it is as long as the Democrats can do two things: keep reminding voters who it was that voted for health care and taking care of them and who didn’t, and running candidates who aren’t afraid to challenge the Republicans to defend their support of the most unpopular president in modern times.