The Affordable Care Act looms as a powerful issue in this year's congressional elections, a USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll finds, and one that is reverberating in ways likely to boost the GOP.
In the survey, taken after President Obama announced a surprising 7.1 million Americans had signed up for health care through the law's exchanges, more than eight in 10 registered voters say a candidate's stance on the law will be an important factor in determining their vote. A 54% majority call it very important.
By 2-1, those who rate the issue as very important disapprove of the law.
That means it is more likely to motivate opponents than supporters to vote — a critical element in midterm elections when turnout often is low.
Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, chairman of the Republicans' Senate campaign committee, says he has seen other evidence of that intensity gap. "If you don't care about Obamacare, you're less likely to vote," he said at an interview with USA TODAY's Capital Download. "If you think Obamacare is good, it's not a big issue for you. But if you think it's bad, it's an intense one."