Christopher Newport University’s polling unit has a new set of numbers out on the Medicaid expansion/budget debate and the findings are not exactly comforting for Terry McAuliffe and his Senate allies:
Given the current contours of that debate, Virginians say 53% to 41% that they oppose Medicaid expansion. This is a reversal from the Wason Center survey released February 3…which showed general support for Medicaid expansion, 56% to 38%.
“Democrats are losing the debate on expanding Medicaid in Virginia,” said Dr. Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center for Public Policy. “This is mostly because they are not convincing Independents that it will work. Voters seem to be moved by Republican skepticism. Significantly, even in the Democratic – friendly territory of Northern Virginia,support leads opposition by only 2%.”
These ought to be sobering numbers for expansion proponents. Part of their problem is that the GOP appears to have learned from past stalemates, and even from their congressional brethren, on how (and how not) to frame a debate involving budgets and shutdowns.
Conversely, Democrats still — weirdly — insist on making this a debate about hospitals and economic growth. Hospitals are among the least sympathetic creatures in the business world. As economic benefits? That’s a triple bank shot argument. A few weeks ago, “60 Minutes” gave Democrats a nearly letter-perfect narrative in favor of expansion. The show’s offer appears not only to have been ignored, but tossed in the bin.
So much for the vast, vast powers of the left-wing media.
But back to the CNU poll. What about the possibility of a state government shutdown? Respondents seem unconcerned, but are willing to cast blame equally if it happens:
Virginia voters are mostly interested in both Democrats in the Senate and Republicans in the House finding a compromise to the issue of Medicaid expansion, with 71% saying both sides should compromise. And most Virginians seem confident that a compromise will come, with 61% saying they are either not very worried or not worried at all that state government will shut down on July 1 due to the budget standoff. If a shutdown does happen, however, both parties will suffer, with 65% of voters saying Republicans and Democrats will share the blame equally. Governor McAuliffe, too, will take a hit, with 78% of Virginians saying that he will share some or a lot of the blame.
“Nobody will come through a shutdown in Richmond without scars,” said Kidd. “Virginians seem to be cautiously optimistic that the two sides will find some kind of compromise, but, if no compromise happens, voters are ready to heap blame on everyone.”
What constitutes a compromise among those surveyed is unknown. But it does not appear expansion is an option.