WASHINGTON – Health care will be a defining issue in the 2018 midterm elections, according to a national survey released Friday by health care advocacy group Protect Our Care and Hart Research Associates.


chose health care as one of their top two issues

Of the 1,000 surveyed Jan. 3 to Jan. 7, 54 percent chose health care as one of the top two issues influencing their vote choice for members of Congress in November. Despite potentially different policy positions, health care is the “most frequently cited priority” among Democrats, Republicans and independent voters, the survey reported.


Clinton voters


Trump voters

Forty-nine percent of those surveyed identified themselves as Clinton voters and 46 percent said they voted for Trump.

Hart Research President Geoffrey Garin said the data suggests Republicans may be in trouble in the 2018 election. Along with the majority of Democrats and independents, 45 percent of “rank-and-file” Republicans expressed disapproval when asked about the way Republicans in Congress have dealt with health care policy, and 52 percent of all the survey respondents said they had an unfavorable opinion of the bills proposed to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“Republicans have made it very credible and very believable that there is a Republican war on health care today,” Garin said, adding the report suggests this may be reflected in the midterm election outcomes. Survey respondents preferred the Democratic candidate by 18 points when given the choice between a Democrat who wants to keep and improve the ACA and a Republican who wants to repeal and replace it.

percentage points

When congressional Republicans tried and failed to pass a health care bill last summer, Brad Woodhouse, campaign director of Protect Our Care, said they assumed responsibility for what happens next.

“They tried to break it so now they own it,” he said, adding that Protect Our Care will strive to hold lawmakers accountable as they face voters in November. The group will focus much of its efforts on creating a “firewall” in the Senate, hoping to preserve votes against repeal from moderate Republican senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine.

In a briefing Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders expressed confidence in Republicans’ ability to maintain strong numbers in the House and Senate in the midterm elections.

“We feel really comfortable with where we are, and certainly with the record of success that we’ve had in 2017, to be able to run on that in 2018,” Sanders said.