Skip to content

2012 Election Result Isn’t Quite Vote of Confidence Democrats Say It Is

“Elections matter.”

That’s probably the most common refrain of the health care battle. Democrats consistently point back to President Barack Obama’s convincing 2012 re-election win as evidence that the American people back his agenda, including his signature piece of legislation.

But I was surprised when I looked back at the national exit poll to see what “the people” said about Obamacare while they gave the president a second term.

“Should the 2010 Healthcare law be repealed?” Nearly a majority, 49 percent, said yes, while 44 percent said no.

Another question dug a little deeper. “2010 Healthcare law should be….” 25 percent said repealed completely and 24 percent said repealed in part. Just 18 percent thought it should be “kept as is” while 26 percent said the law should be expanded.

What’s remarkable is how static voter attitudes were toward the law from 2010 to 2012. In the 2010 midterm elections, 48 percent said the new healthcare law should be repealed, 31 percent thought it should be expanded and 16 percent thought it should be left as is.

It’s also a stretch to say that the 2012 election was a referendum on health care. Just 18 percent of last year’s electorate said that health care was the most important issue facing the country. Of course, the last election was about many things, including the economy and Mitt Romney, both his background— which included pushing and signing into law as governor of Massachusetts a law remarkably similar to Obamacare — and his comments on the campaign trail.

There is no denying that Obama won the 2012 presidential election. But that vote shouldn’t be held up as a vote of confidence for Obamacare. And it’s worth mentioning (again) that the Republicans taking a stand against the president were elected, too.

Recent Stories

House passes stopgap funding bill to avert shutdown

Stopgap funding bills hung up in both chambers

Who are the House Republicans who opposed the stopgap budget bill?

Taking it to the limit — Congressional Hits and Misses

Feinstein broke glass ceilings during decades of Judiciary Committee work

Colleagues honor Feinstein as death leaves Senate vacancy