Olympia Snowe: The Political Problems of Stopping Health Care Reform

Olympia Snowe enjoys broad support in her home state, but she faces significant political problems if she opposes President Obama’s health insurance reform. A Snowe vote against health insurance reform results in Mainers evenly divided on whether she should be re-elected, while support for Obama’s plan produces 53 percent who want to re-elect Snowe compared to 38 percent who want someone new as U.S. Senator.

Mainers worry that Republicans are obstructing passage of health care reform and they want Senator Snowe to do what she thinks is right, rather than hold out for a more bipartisan bill:

  • By 50 to 39 percent, voters in Maine believe Republicans in Congress “aren’t being constructive and just want Obama to fail” rather than that they “are playing a constructive role in improving a health care reform bill.”
  • By 62 to 29 percent, Mainers believe President Obama “has made an effort to reach out to Republicans on health care reform” rather than that he “has ignored Republicans’ ideas on health care reform.”
  • And by 64 to 28 percent, they feel Senator Snowe “should vote for the health care bill if she thinks it’s a good bill even if she is the only Republican who supports it” rather than that she “should only vote for the health care bill if it is a bipartisan bill that other Republicans are willing to support.”

Finally, it is clear that Mainers overwhelmingly support a government sponsored non-profit health insurance option, 63 to 27 percent. And they support this option from the start significantly more strongly than they support a “trigger” (52 to 34 percent) that would create the government sponsored non-profit health insurance option only if private health insurance companies do not make affordable coverage available within several years.

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