Poll in swing states shows health reform hurting Obama's reelection chances

A new USA Today/Gallup poll of voters in 12 “swing” states that will likely decide the presidential election shows health reform is hurting the reelection chances of President Obama against his likely Republican opponents Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

If the election were held today, voters in the swing states prefer Santorum to Obama 50 percent to 45 percent. Romney holds a narrower edge in the 12 states: 48 percent to 46, though the margin is a statistical dead heat considering the poll’s margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

Nationwide polling indicates Santorum has a small lead on Obama (49 percent to 46 percent) and Romney and Obama split the vote, garnering 47 percent each.

But when it comes to the views of voters in swing states on health reform, the sentiment is strongly against the Affordable Care Act, with 53 percent of registered voters saying it was a bad thing the law was passed compared to only 38 percent who see it as a good thing. Nationwide, the margin is a bit narrower, but still decidedly anti-health reform by a margin of 50 percent to 42 percent.

Swing state voters also support an attempt to repeal the law should a Republican win the White House in November. Fifty-three percent of voters say they either “strongly support” or “support” repeal of the law in those circumstances and a whopping 76 percent of voters in these states say they believe the law requiring people to buy health insurance is unconstitutional. That’s not significantly different from the view nationwide, as three-in-four voters think the law is unconstitutional.

Interestingly, despite these strongly anti-health reform sentiments, only 15 percent say health reform has had a negative effect on their families. Eleven percent of people say health reform has helped their families and 72 percent say it has had no effect. These numbers are slightly better than the national polling figures that show 17 percent feel it has had a negative effect, while 11 percent say it has helped and 69 percent noted no effect.

The swing state poll was conducted Feb. 14-21 of 1,137 registered voters in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Nationwide polling was conducted Feb. 20 and 21 of 881 registered voters. The poll’s margin of error was +/- 4 percent.

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