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Health Care Crowds Out Jobs, Taxes in Midterm Ads

Once mum on health care, Democrats are hammering the issue in political ads as GOP attempts to tout tax cuts and economy

By Brian McGill and Julie Bykowicz

 Eight years ago, the newly passed Affordable Care Act was so widely criticized that it contributed to Democrats losing control of the House of Representatives. But in this midterm election, health care is the party’s most-mentioned topic in advertising—far above anything else, including opposition to President Trump.

Meanwhile, Republicans—who have made repealing the Affordable Care Act one of their top advertising messages since the 2010 election—are barely mentioning it this year, after the GOP-led Congress tried unsuccessfully to overturn the law last year. The party has instead turned its attention to touting the tax legislation Mr. Trump signed into law late last year.

The Wall Street Journal analyzed Kantar Media/CMAG advertising data on health care and tax and economic messaging in all House and Senate races from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30. Here is what campaign ads tell us about how the political conversation is changing.

Health Care

In 2010, about 29% of Republican political ads targeted the ACA while fewer than 6% of the Democrats’ ads did so—and even the Democratic messaging was split between positive and negative messages.

In the 2014 midterms, 44% of Republican ads attacked Obamacare while 31% of Democratic ads mentioned the issue. Continue reading

How Republicans Could Still Win

A forthcoming poll suggests ways they can persuade voters in swing districts.

By Kimberley A. Strassel

Sept. 13, 2018 6:58 p.m. ET

Primary election voters at a polling station inside Boston City Hall, Sept. 4. PHOTO: CJ GUNTHER/EPA-EFE/REX/SHUTTERST/EPA/SHUTTERSTOCK

 

This was a week of gloomy midterm polls for the Republican Party, with a wave of results projecting a Democratic takeover of the House and maybe even the Senate. But not all polls are created equal. If Republicans bother to read just one, it should be a yet-unreleased survey that tells a more nuanced story.

The data come courtesy of the Club for Growth, a conservative outfit that plays to win. The club’s donors expect it to place smart bets in elections, which it can’t do if it relies on feel-good data. It uses WPAi, the data firm that in 2016 found Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson really did have a shot at re-election, then crafted the messages that got him the money and votes for victory.

WPAi just handed the club in-depth polling of the people who matter most this midterm—1,000 likely voters in 41 competitive House districts. The results are quietly making their way to Republican leaders, and the club agreed to give me an advance look. Bottom line: Many of these races are winnable—if Republicans have the courage of their convictions and get smarter in tailoring their messages to voters.

On the surface, the results mirror other recent polls. President Trump has a net-negative approval rating across these districts, with his unfavorable ratings notably high among women (57%), independents (58%) and suburban voters (52%). Those who answered prefer a Democratic Congress that will check Mr. Trump (48%) to electing Republicans who will pass his agenda more quickly (42%). The biggest alarm bell is the 12-point enthusiasm gap—with 72% of Democrats “very interested” in this election, compared with 60% of Republicans. In suburbia, the 12-point gap widens to 24.

Yet this thundercloud has silver linings. One is that Republicans still hold a 3-point lead on the generic ballot in these districts, meaning they have a real chance if they get their likely voters out. An even bigger opening: Approximately 25% of those polled remain “persuadable” to vote Republican—if they hear the right things. Continue reading

Among the Trump Doubters

They like his policies but a persona giving off nonstop static may keep them home

By Daniel Henninger

Sept. 5, 2018 7:09 p.m. ET

President Donald Trump speaks on the telephone via speakerphone with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in the Oval Office, Aug. 27.PHOTO: WIN MCNAMEE/GETTY IMAGES

Back when Donald Trump was defeating 12 or so Republicans for the 2016 presidential nomination, no matter what he said or what anyone wrote about him, his support among early primary voters usually hovered somewhere in the 30s. You could set your watch by a Trump critical mass of one-third voting for him.

This third, then and now, is the eternal Trump base. Look at presidential approval polls, and there they are. In the most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, Mr. Trump’s “strong” approvers were 31%.

These are the Trump believers. But during two weeks away from politics, I kept finding myself among the Trump doubters. To be sure, most of them were in Europe, the fountainhead of doubt. They would demand of their visitor: “Explain Trump.” Continue reading

A Radical Fix for Washington: Have Congress Do Its Job
If Congress performed more of the tasks assigned to it by the Constitution, it also would feel compelled to act more responsibly

ILLUSTRATION: ALEX NABAUM
By Gerald F. Seib
May 17, 2018 11:29 a.m. ET

Here’s a simple yet radical thought on how to fix much of what ails Washington: Have Congress do its job.

When attempting to explain the myriad problems that plague the nation’s capital, people talk of partisanship, polarization and a White House in perpetual chaos—and there’s certainly plenty of all that to go around. Yet every one of those problems is exacerbated by the way Congress has abdicated or shirked its duties.

Maybe, just maybe, if Congress accepted and performed more of the tasks assigned to it by the Constitution, it also would feel compelled to act more responsibly—to find the compromise, to overcome the partisanship, to reach the durable solution. Like the young adult who leaves home and suddenly has to live with the consequences of his or her own actions, it would have to start doing the mature thing.

Instead, we often are living with the opposite. For years, Congress has punted its Constitutional responsibilities down Pennsylvania Avenue to the president. It’s often unable to perform its most basic function, which is to pass spending bills, instead resorting to giant catchall spending measures that nobody has read and that leave the executive branch to fill in many policy blanks. In a similar illustration of its problems, a House crippled by intramural feuding on Friday failed to pass a farm bill, another piece of core legislation.

On problem after problem, in other words, Congress has said in effect, “We’re not responsible”—which only liberates it to act irresponsibly. Continue reading

The Reagan Club meets on the first Thursday of every month at The Amazing Grace Community Church ( 541 E 99th Pl, Thornton, CO, 80229) from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. with doors open at 6:00 p.m.. We feature different programs and speakers as we honor the 40th President. The Reagan Club of Colorado seeks to promote the Constitution, smaller government, lower taxes, personal freedom, helping candidates, and educating the public about one of our greatest presidents, Ronald Wilson Reagan.

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