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TO: Interested Parties

FROM: Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group, Priorities USA, and Patriot


Majority USA
DATE: March 23, 2017
RE: Health Care Survey of Voters in GOP-Held Battleground CDs
This memorandum summarizes the key findings from a survey conducted by Garin
Hart Yang for Priorities USA and Patriot Majority USA. From March 15 to 19, we
surveyed 1,001 likely 2018 voters spread evenly across 20 battleground
congressional districts currently held by Republicansincluding 11 carried by Hillary
Clinton in November, and nine carried by Donald Trump. The self-reported
presidential vote among respondents across the Clinton districts is 43% for Donald
Trump and 49% for Hillary Clinton; across the Trump districts, the vote is 50% for
Donald Trump and 43% for Hillary Clinton. These vote margins are reflective of the
actual average vote across each set of districts in November.

The survey finds that information about the Republicans plan to repeal
and replace the Affordable Care Actcombined with voters knowing their
Republican member of Congress supports the planresults in a net 13-
point swing away from the Republicans in the vote for Congress, including
substantial movement in districts President Trump carried in November.

Key Findings

1. Voters are paying an unusually high level of attention to Trump and


the Congressional Republicans efforts to repeal and replace the ACA,
and the intensity of opinion lies with the laws opponents.

Across the 20 districts, two-thirds (66%) of voters report having heard


a lot about the proposal of the Republicans in Congress to repeal and
replace the ACAincluding 77% of Democrats and 59% of Republicans. And
they are not fond of what they hear: by 49% to 43%, voters are unfavorable
toward the GOP plan, including 52%-40% unfavorable in the districts Clinton
won, and 47%-44% in those Trump won. Overall, opponents are more
intense in their views than supporters, as 37% describe themselves as very
unfavorable toward the law, while only 15% describe themselves as very
favorable. And while 80% of Democrats are very unfavorable toward the
plan, only 30% of Republicans are very favorable.

1724 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009 202-234-5570 202-232-8134 FAX www.hartresearch.com
Additionally, the more voters learn about the Republican health care plan,
the less they like it. Among those who report having heard a lot about the
proposal, views are 39% favorable and 57% unfavorable (including 47% who
are very unfavorable). Among those who have heard less, 49% describe
themselves as favorable while 35% are unfavorable (but only 14% are very
favorable).

2. Republican incumbents in these swing districts are held in


reasonably good standing as of nowbut support is soft, and
information about the health care proposal has a dramatic impact on
moving voters against reelecting Republicans.

Across districts, Republican incumbents (respondents each heard the name of


their own representative) have a 35% positive and 30% negative personal
favorability ratingwith a combined 35% saying they are neutral or dont
know enough to offer an opinion. (This compares to a much cooler 39%
positive, 51% negative rating toward President Trump, even though this set
of districts as a whole was evenly split in November.) Across districts, the
Republicans job approval stands at 46% approve, 34% disapprove, with 1 in
5 (20%) volunteering that they are not sure.

At the outset of the poll, voters are inclined to re-elect their incumbent over
a generic Democratic challenger, but only by 44% to 38%with these
Republicans notably under the 50% mark. With no information given, Trump
districts vote for the Republican by 9 points (43% to 34%) with almost 1 in 4
(23%) saying they are not sure, while Clinton districts begin at a near dead
heat (43% Republican, 42% Democrat).

However, on both approval and the trial heat for Congress, there is potential
for real, substantial movement toward the Democratsincluding in districts
Trump won in November. After hearing a positive argument in favor of the
GOP plan, information about its provisions and consequences, and messages
against their own incumbent for supporting it, we are able to really move the
needle in a way that is rarely driven by a single issue, as it is in this case.
Overall, voters move from approving of their congressperson by 12 points
(46% approve, 34% disapprove) to disapproving by 21 points (35% approve,
56% disapprove)a net shift of 33 percentage points. This includes a net
shift of 31 points across the Clinton districts (47% approve, 36% disapprove
to 37% approve, 57% disapprove) as well as a notable 36-point shift across
the Trump districts (44% approve, 32% disapprove to 32% approve, 56%
disapprove).

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And movement on the actual vote for Congress is substantial as well,
including a net 13-point shift away from the Republicans among voters
overall, and impressive movement among key subgroups:

Initial and Informed Vote for Congress

Initial Vote Informed Vote Net


(D-R) (D-R) Shift
% % %
All voters 38-44 45-38 +13

Clinton Districts 42-43 47-40 +8


Trump Districts 34-43 42-36 +15

Democrats 81-6 90-3 +12


Independents 34-34 43-24 +19
Republicans 4-84 6-79 +7

Obama/Trump voters 12-54 20-44 +18

White non-coll men 27-56 34-50 +13


White college men 38-45 42-45 +4
White non-coll women 37-45 45-35 +18
White college women 45-39 53-32 +15

3. Voters strongly oppose a wide array of components of the GOP plan,


especially provisions that will raise costs for older people and give
tax breaks to the wealthy while hurting the middle class. But the
bottom line is: under this plan, costs will go up, and coverage will go
down.

The top-testing message against the GOP proposal (as drafted at the time of
fielding) is that it allows insurance companies to charge people over age fifty
five times more than younger people for their carewith 61% of voters
saying this raises very big concerns for them. This is the top-testing
message among key target groups, garnering very big concerns among
75% of those who move on their vote, 66% of independents, 53% of
Obama-Trump voters, and 69% of white non-college women. However, an
argument that the plan gives tax cuts to the top two-percent and tax breaks
to health insurance companies while raising costs for average Americans also

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tests very strongly at 54% very big concerns, as do items around cutting
Medicaid/slashing nursing home funding (51% very big concerns) and taking
insurance away from more than 24 million people (51% very big concerns).

After hearing several provisions of the plan such as theseall of which are
broadly unpopularvoters were asked in an open-ended fashion what their
biggest concerns were now that they knew more about the plan. Their
answers are loud and clear: it will make insurance coverage too costly or
unaffordable (20% volunteer this), and it will lead to millions losing their
coverage and putting their health at risk (19% volunteer this). Whats more,
a combined 14% mention that the plan will give tax breaks to the rich (7%)
but hurt the middle class or poor (7%), and 7% mention hurting the elderly.
And by 29% to 50%, they tell us that knowing their own congressperson
supports this plan makes them less favorable toward him or her.

Despite President Trumps warnings that House Republicans will lose


their seats if they do not repeal the ACA, this poll suggests that
support for this proposal presents a significant danger for
Republicans come 2018. Democrats have a clear opportunity to
harness the current battle over ACA repealan issue with which
voters are unusually engaged, and one which affects them directly
to show that their Republican members of Congress are not looking
out for them, instead putting the health and economic wellbeing of
Americans at risk. Finally, instead of focusing on only a narrow swath
of districts carried by Hillary Clinton in November, this poll suggests
that communicating across a wider playing field of competitive
districts can potentially pay big dividends for Democrats in 2018.

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