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Ear to the Ground

Winning Issues: Minimum Wage vs. Obamacare

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Posted on Dec 9, 2013
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Catching up on the day’s political news, one can see that the preferred issues of the Democrats and Republicans heading into the midterm elections are already having an impact.

The Republicans are still keen to repeal the Affordable Care Act and, more important, take back the Senate in the process. Democrat Mark Pryor of Arkansas trails his Republican challenger in a new poll by seven points, with a strong majority of respondents showing displeasure toward the ACA. John Cornyn of Texas, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, meanwhile, is facing a primary challenge over—of course—Obamacare. Here are six other races where the ACA plays a supporting role.

On the other side of the aisle, the Democrats have a winning issue in raising the minimum wage. Here’s the reasoning from Beth Reinhard in the National Journal:

Democrats increasingly view championing the pay of hourly workers as a can’t-lose issue that revs up their base of liberal, black, and Hispanic voters. Perhaps more important, it also resonates with the white, blue-collar workers who overwhelmingly side with Republicans.

Since minority participation tapers off in midterm elections, assailing Republican opposition to hiking the minimum wage could be a more potent Democratic wedge than immigration reform, particularly in red states with competitive Senate campaigns, such as West Virginia, Kentucky, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Louisiana.

In a Gallup poll from March of this year, 71 percent of adults said they favored raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour. When asked about the same issue in November, the margin went up five points. Apparently momentum, not to mention good politics, is on the side of paying workers better.

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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