Public Policy Polling conducted a telephone exit poll election survey of voters who cast ballots in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District special election yesterday. Voters who voted in the contest were asked about the role of health care in their decision.
The exit poll shows that health care was a top priority issue to voters in this district and that voters believed Democrat Conor Lamb’s views were more in step with theirs.
In 2016, voters in this district backed Donald Trump by 20 points, but last night they backed a Democrat for Congress in a referendum on the health care plans of the Republican Congress:
-Health care was a top issue to voters. Health care was ranked as a top issue for 52% of voters (15% saying it was the most important issue and another 37% saying it was very important). Only 19% said it was not that important or not important at all.
– Conor Lamb won big especially among voters for whom health care was a top priority. Among voters who said health care was the most important issue for them, Lamb beat Rick Saccone 64-36 and among the broader group of voters who said it was either the most important or a very important issue Lamb beat Saccone 62-38.
– On health care, voters said Lamb better reflected their views by 7 points (45% to 38%) over Saccone. With independents, that gap widened to 16 points with 50% saying Lamb’s health care views were more in line with theirs to only 34% for Saccone.
– Voters were less likely to support Saccone because of the Republican health care agenda. Saccone’s support of the Republican health care agenda made 41% of voters less likely to vote for him and only 28% more likely to support him.
-Voters in this heavily Republican district disapproved of the Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act by 14 points (53% to 39%).
– 48% of voters believed Republicans are now trying to undermine and sabotage it since they failed to repeal it. Among independent voters, the disparity is even wider with only 33% supporting the GOP’s health care repeal efforts to 63% opposing them.
-In this deeply red district, 44% of voters support the Affordable Care Act while 42% oppose it.
– Only 38% of voters think the best path forward on health care is to repeal the Affordable Care Act, to 59% who think it should be kept in place with fixes made to it as necessary.