I don’t think we needed any further confirmation but here it is anyway.
(WaPo) — A top Democrat acknowledged Thursday that President Obama’s health care bill hurt his party in 2010. And a new study suggests it cost the Democrats something pretty specific: their House majority.
“It was clearly a liability in the last election in terms of the public’s fear,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Thursday during a briefing with reporters.
The study, by five professors from institutions across the country, looks at the health care bill alongside other contentious votes in the 111th Congress and determines that, more so than the stimulus or the cap-and-trade energy bill, it cost Democrats seats. In fact, they lost almost exactly the number of seats that decided the majority.
The study ran 10,000 simulations of a scenario in which all vulnerable Democrats voted against the health care bill and found that the rejections would have saved Democrats an average of 25 seats, which would have made the House parties close to a tie. (Republicans won 63 seats overall, but the study suggests around 25 of them would have been salvaged.)
In 62 percent of the simulations, Democrats were able to keep the House.
The study uses district-level data to show that the vote created “ideological distance” between the Democratic members of Congress and the median voters in their districts, compared with similar districts where the Democratic incumbent voted against the bill.
“Democratic incumbents who supported health care reform were seen as more liberal on average by their constituents than those who did not,” the study says.
The study comes at an important time for the health care bill — just as it’s threatening to become a major issue again in the 2012 election.