Republicans who rode anti-Obamacare sentiment to majorities in Congress are relying on voters like Florida trucker Edwardo Arenas to help them win back the White House and undo President Obama’s legacy item once he’s gone.
Six years after passage, Obamacare is still cropping up on the campaign trail, as Mr. Obama turns to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to build on his signature achievement in lieu of Mr. Trump, who’s vowed to tear it down.
A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found voters were far less likely to cite health care as the most important issue in their vote for president — just 9 percent of Democrats and 5 percent of Republicans — than issues such as the economy, foreign policy and social issues.
Indeed, Obamacare lingered in the background until late October, when the administration confirmed that many consumers who purchase insurance on their own would see double-digit premium increases in 2017.
Mr. Trump is using the news to rustle up votes in key swing states. A down-ballot candidate like Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, frequently reminds voters that his Democratic opponent, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, voted for the law in 2010, as Arizonans see their premiums spike by an average of 116 percent.
GOP strategist Ford O’Connell said the law’s political reach won’t be clear until the exit polls come in on Election Day, though any “Obamacare voters” will likely come out of states like Arizona or North Carolina, where Republican Sen. Richard Burr is fighting to protect his seat against former state lawmaker Deborah Ross.
“How and why voters pull the lever for a general election presidential candidate is usually more complex than a single item like Obamacare,” Mr. O’Connell said. “That said, where the Obamacare voter might be most pronounced is in some of these key Senate races that also double as presidential battleground races.”