For Republicans on Capitol Hill, the midterm results were a clear-cut mandate for drastic change, starting with a rollback of Democrats’ healthcare plan. They say killing the law would spur the economy by lifting burdensome requirements that discourage businesses from expanding and adding jobs.
But their reading of the election results is, at the least, a subjective one. Exit polls found that voters were evenly split over whether to repeal the healthcare law: 48% supported the notion while 47% said they either wanted to keep the law in place or expand it.
More noteworthy, fewer than 2 in 10 cited healthcare as the most important issue facing the country today. (More than 60% cited the economy, suggesting where voters would like to see the most energy applied once the new session of Congress starts Jan. 5.)
Voters also seem more divided than Republican leaders about the merits of preserving the Bush-era tax cuts, which are set to expire at the end of the year. Of those surveyed on election day, 40% favored an extension for all Americans, including the well-to-do; 36% said the cuts should be extended only for families making less than $250,000 a year, as Obama advocates.