Exclusive: Poll shows Affordable Care Act challenge a liability for McConnell at home

A new poll of voters shows that a Trump administration-backed effort to strike down the Affordable Care Act is a political liability for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMinimum wage setback revives progressive calls to nix Senate filibuster Schiff sees challenges for intel committee, community in Trump's shadow McConnell says he'd back Trump as 2024 GOP nominee MORE (R-Ky.) in Kentucky.

The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling on behalf of Protect Our Care, a Democratic-allied group, shows that 49 percent of Kentucky voters oppose a lawsuit by 18 Republican-led states against the Affordable Care Act for which the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Nov. 10.

When voters are informed that striking down the law would eliminate protections that stop insurance companies from denying coverage or raising costs for people with pre-existing medical conditions, 60 percent of Kentucky voters say it’s a “major concern.”


When informed that striking down the law would result in more than 20 million Americans losing health care coverage, 58 percent of voters say it’s a “major concern.”

When informed that McConnell “favors striking down the Affordable Care Act without any replacement," 48 percent of voters say they’re less likely to support him while 21 percent say they are more likely to support his reelection.

The poll surveyed 930 voters in McConnell’s home state from Oct. 14 to Oct. 15.

McConnell has pushed back against Democratic claims that his support for Judge Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettThe Jan. 6 case for ending the Senate filibuster Laurence Tribe: Justice Thomas is out of order on 2020 election McConnell backs Garland for attorney general MORE, President TrumpDonald TrumpDonald Trump Jr. calls Bruce Springsteen's dropped charges 'liberal privilege' Schiff sees challenges for intel committee, community in Trump's shadow McConnell says he'd back Trump as 2024 GOP nominee MORE’s nominee to the Supreme Court, represents a serious threat to the Affordable Care Act.

McConnell last month said “one of the pre-selected scare tactics is that Judge Barrett is out to steal Americans’ health care coverage.”


“On this occasion, their entire argument seems to come down to a technical analysis Judge Barrett put forward in a four-year-old academic paper about one part of ObamaCare — which Congress has already zeroed out in the meantime,” he said, referring to the tax penalty associated with the individual mandate.

McConnell in the past called for repealing ObamaCare “root and branch” and put legislation on the Senate floor in 2017 to repeal major elements of the law.

Brad Woodhouse, the executive director of Protect Our Care, said the poll shows the prominence Barrett’s confirmation hearing gave to the GOP-led legal effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act is a problem for Senate Republican candidates.

“If the voters of Kentucky are against the lawsuit, if the voters of Kentucky are more favorable than not to the Affordable Care Act ... imagine what that means when Cory GardnerCory GardnerBiden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program Gardner to lead new GOP super PAC ahead of midterms OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA's 'secret science' rule | Bureau of Land Management exodus: Agency lost 87 percent of staff in Trump HQ relocation | GM commits to electric light duty fleet by 2035 MORE eventually sees this poll or Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyNew rule shakes up Senate Armed Services subcommittees The Seventeenth Amendment and the censure of Donald Trump Ex-astronaut Mark Kelly jokes about piloting congressional subway MORE sees this poll,” Woodhouse said, referring to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), who are trailing in the polls to their Democratic opponents.

“The entire Supreme Court nomination became about the future about the Affordable Care Act,” he added.


Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHillicon Valley: Biden signs order on chips | Hearing on media misinformation | Facebook's deal with Australia | CIA nominee on SolarWinds House Rules release new text of COVID-19 relief bill Budowsky: Cruz goes to Cancun, AOC goes to Texas MORE (D-N.Y.) made Barrett’s possible ruling on the law a primary point of attack.

Barrett, however, raised the possibility at the hearing that she may not rule to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act, telling Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamJohn Boehner tells Cruz to 'go f--- yourself' in unscripted audiobook asides: report Parliamentarian nixes minimum wage hike in coronavirus bill McConnell says he'd back Trump as 2024 GOP nominee MORE (R-S.C.) that the doctrine of severability is well-established, which would allow for only the individual mandate to be ruled unconstitutional while keeping the rest of the law intact.

The poll also asked voters about McConnell’s opposition to the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act that Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMinimum wage setback revives progressive calls to nix Senate filibuster House Democrats to keep minimum wage hike in COVID-19 relief bill for Friday vote Schiff sees challenges for intel committee, community in Trump's shadow MORE (D-Calif.) and House Democrats passed in May.

When described as a package that provides another round of direct cash payments to Americans, extended unemployment benefits through the end of January, hazard pay for front-line workers and expanded virus testing, Kentucky voters expressed support for it.

The question, however, did not include the $3.4 trillion price tag for the bill or other items that McConnell has highlighted, such as a provision allowing undocumented immigrants to receive new rebates and language that would weaken state voter ID requirements.

Forty-six percent of voters said they were less likely to support McConnell when they were told he refused to bring the House bill up for a vote in the Senate. Twenty-two percent of voters said they were more likely to vote for him as a result.