Stats Show Obamacare Repeal Just Cost Republicans Congress In 2018: Nate Silver


To the dismay of millions of Americans, House Republicans passed an amended version of the American Health Care Act on Thursday morning.

Members of the conservative majority celebrated the passing of the bill — which still must pass the Senate — with “cases upon cases of beer.” However, the congressional Republicans who are up for re-election might not be so happy next year.

According to statistician Nate Silver, many of the men and women who voted in favor of the AHCA could be saying goodbye to their congressional seats after voting for the massively unpopular bill.

Silver cited as evidence for his argument the fact that Democrats who voted for the Affordable Care Act in 2010 “paid a huge price in the midterms.”

He pointed to two studies that helped illustrate this point. The first was a 2011 study that found Democrats who voted for the ACA lost between 6.6 and 7.6 percentage points of the vote — this translates to a margin of 13 to 15 points. The second, which was conducted a year later, estimated that the ACA had between a 5.8 and 8.5 percentage point effect on Democrat’s vote share, or a margin of 12 to 17 points.

Silver went on to say that, if Republicans face a similar penalty — a loss of approximately 15 points in the polls — as a result of voting for the AHCA, “it could put dozens of GOP-held seats in play.” This is especially true for the 33 Republicans who won by 14 percentage points or less, 27 of which voted for the AHCA.

Other Republicans are also in jeopardy, Silver pointed out, because, in 2018, the “overall political climate is likely to be a lot worse for Republicans than it was in 2016.”

‘There could easily be an overall partisan swing of 5 to 10 percentage points against Republicans…It’s not quite clear how this partisan swing would interact with the AHCA penalty — whether you’d add them together or whether that’s double-counting — but it should be enough to make a lot of Republican incumbents nervous.’

Democrats should not get too comfortable yet, though. As Silver pointed out, there is still a bit of hope for Republicans, primarily due to the fact that the AHCA is “somewhat unlikely to become law.” Even House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who decried her Republican colleagues today for voting in favor of the bill, said during her address that it will be much more difficult for it to pass in the Senate.

Republicans also have two other things working in their favor. First, there is the fact that the “Republican process for negotiating the AHCA also hasn’t been as drawn out as the one Democrats had for Obamacare.” There is also President Trump with his inane tweeting and constant missteps.

Trump creates a lot of news that competes with coverage of the health care vote — and other equally important issues. Because of this distraction, Silver suggested that health care might not be “at the top of voters’ minds in November 2018.”

Even with these caveats, things still look good for Democrats so far. The Real Clear Politics poll average currently shows them with a 5.5 percentage point lead, a lead that seems likely to only increase over time.

Featured image via Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for AWXII.