Everyone’s favorite poll aggregator, Sam Wang, is writing at the New Yorker and has found something interesting about Medicaid expansion:
According to these data points, Republican governors who bucked their party’s stance and accepted the policy [Medicaid expansion] are faring better with voters—in these races, an average of 8.5 percentage points better.
Considering that crusading against Obamacare has been a core part of the G.O.P. playbook, this 8.5-point difference may come as a surprise. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that voters’ sentiments are driven entirely by health-care policy. Think of the Medicaid expansion as a “proxy variable,” one that is predictive of stands on many other issues. For example, even as Pennsylvania voters have trended toward the Democrats, Corbett got behind several radical redistricting schemes, cut education funding deeply, and compared gay marriage to incest. In Maine, LePage has called legislators idiots and state workers corrupt, told the N.A.A.C.P. to “kiss [his] butt,” and held multiple meetings with “sovereign citizens” who advocate secession. In short, if you’re too hard-core or offensive, some of your constituents can get turned off.
Sam Brownback and Scott Walker are also in trouble, because it takes a real asshole to refuse a no-brainer like Medicaid expansion, and, as a whole, voters don’t like assholes. LePage might squeak through because
Lloyd Eliot Cutler is running as an independent in that race.