US Voters Just Had A Referendum On Obamacare -- And Obamacare Won

In the last days of his campaign for governor, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) ran around the state saying his race was a “referendum on Obamacare.”

The results are in. Cuccinelli has lost. And Obamacare, therefore, has won.

I said this on Twitter and drew a lot of response from conservatives. For example, one gentleman called me “retarded.” More constructive interlocutors pointed out exit polls showing that a majority of the Virginia electorate (53%) disapproved of Obamacare.

This is fair enough, but it actually makes Republicans’ case that Obamacare is an asset for them more untenable. Even in an election that the Republican candidate was deeming to be a “referendum on Obamacare,” in a state where Obamacare is not popular, against a Democratic nominee whose key career accomplishment is unusual success at influence peddling, the Republican nominee lost.

What lesson should Republicans take away? One is perhaps that, while the public is wary of Obamacare, scorched-earth opposition to it is not a winning electoral strategy. Republicans’ decision to shut down the government over a demand to defund Obamacare also did not redound to the party’s advantage, even as Obamacare’s national poll numbers are also weak.

Perhaps they could also consider developing their own alternative health policy agenda so they can have something to put up against Obamacare in a referendum.

Just some friendly suggestions.

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