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 McConnellHas Trump beaten the system? Yellen to Congress: Raise the debt ceiling or risk 'irreparable harm' The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Tokyo Olympics kick off with 2020-style opening ceremony 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 BarrettAbortion rights face most difficult test yet at Supreme Court Overnight Health Care: Biden officials says no change to masking guidance right now | Missouri Supreme Court rules in favor of Medicaid expansion | Mississippi's attorney general asks Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade Mississippi's attorney general asks Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade MORE, President TrumpDonald TrumpPoll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Biden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe Has Trump beaten the system? 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 GardnerEx-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Biden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program Gardner to lead new GOP super PAC ahead of midterms MORE eventually sees this poll or Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallySchumer, Tim Scott lead as Senate fundraising pace heats up GOP group launches million ad campaign pressing Kelly on filibuster Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal 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 SchumerMcConnell pushes vaccines, but GOP muddles his message Biden administration stokes frustration over Canada Schumer blasts McCarthy for picking people who 'supported the big lie' for Jan. 6 panel 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 GrahamSenate braces for a nasty debt ceiling fight Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor How Sen. Graham can help fix the labor shortage with commonsense immigration reform 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 PelosiYellen to Congress: Raise the debt ceiling or risk 'irreparable harm' Freedom Caucus presses McCarthy to force vote to oust Pelosi The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Tokyo Olympics kick off with 2020-style opening ceremony 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.