Sen. Warner leading in Virginia, but not because of ObamaCare
The race for Virginia Democrat Mark Warner’s Senate seat isn’t nearly as competitive as those for some of his purple-to-redder-state colleagues currently in hot water, and according to a Quinnipiac poll released today, Warner holds a solid 15-point lead over likely Republican challenger Ed Gillespie — but I think it’s safe to say that his lead isn’t because Virginia voters just adore ObamaCare:
Warner is favored by 46 percent of voters as he seeks a second term, compared with 31 percent for Gillespie, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, according to the Quinnipiac University survey. Libertarian Robert Sarvis has 6 percent backing.
… Virginia voters oppose the healthcare law 52 percent to 44 percent, the poll showed.
Voters in Virginia, a swing state in presidential elections, said 45 percent to 31 percent that they were less likely to vote for a Senate candidate who supported the health care law. …
Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said Warner enjoyed high name recognition and a strong job approval rating, at 55 percent.
He is in the range that suggests that an incumbent is a heavy favorite for re-election, Brown said in a statement accompanying the poll.
Warner is already a known quantity with high name recognition and fundraising abilities in Virginia, while 64 percent of voters said they still don’t know enough about Gillespie to form an opinion about him. It’s a comfortable lead for the Democrat, but if an upset is in the cards, Gillespie has the built-in network to raise some beaucoup bucks — and Warner’s ObamaCare-“yea”-vote/Obama-“yes”-man record is a liability of which Team Gillespie will definitely be looking to take advantage.
Ergo, I’m sure Warner feels that he can’t be too careful. Time to start beating the “fix it, don’t nix it” drums even harder, via the WSJ:
Hoping to change that, Democratic Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia, Mark Begich of Alaska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, as well as Sen. Angus King (I., Maine), plan to introduce as soon as Thursday a set of principles and legislation aimed at strengthening the health law, according to lawmakers and Senate Democratic aides. …
Among the proposals likely to be included is one backed by Messrs. Begich and Warner offering a new kind of insurance plan, a “copper” plan featuring lower premiums and higher out-of-pocket costs than the “bronze,” “silver” and “gold” options on the government-run health-care exchanges.
Lawmakers also would like to make health care more affordable for small businesses by expanding certain tax credits and making them available for longer. And Mr. Warner said on Fox News earlier this week that he favors enabling the sale of health insurance across state lines, an idea that has garnered interest among House Republicans as well.