Republican Pollster Found Massachusetts Results Not A Repudiation Of Obama’s Overall Agenda

Greg Sargent quotes a Republican pollster who reports that his exit polls show Brown’s victory as representing opposition to health care reform but not to Barack Obama’s overall agenda:

I just talked to GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio, who did that exit poll on the Massachusetts race I reported on below, and he confirmed my interpretation: It’s a reach to see the outcome as a wholesale repudiation of Obama and his overall policies and agenda.

That seems a bit at odds with what many Republicans and pundits have argued today — that the results last night amounted to a referendum on Obama’s whole presidency.

As I noted below, Fabrizio’s exit polling showed that Scott Brown’s opposition to health care reform was a strong driver of the pro-Brown vote, confirming that health care was indeed a major factor in the election.

But the poll also found that only 38% said their vote was motivated by opposition to Obama’s overall policies and the direction he’s taking the country. Meanwhile, 59% said they were motivated by support for his policies or that they weren’t a factor. Obama’s approval checked in at at 55%, too.

Fabrizio said the results show that the outcome was a major repudiation of the health care plan — but not of Obama’s presidency.

“Given Obama’s image numbers and his job approval, and the fact that voters were basically split on his poliicies and direction he wants to take the country, this was more a vote to repudiate health care plan than a vote to repudiate Obama overall,” Fabrizio said.

Fabrizio added that given that this was Massachusetts, it would have been “seismic” if voters had “rejected Obama’s overall policies as strongly as they rejected his health care plan.”

Concluded Fabrizio: “It did not happen.”

There is an additional wrinkle in viewing the vote as a repudiation of health care reform considering that Massachusetts already has a similar plan. It has been the case throughout the debate that those who do not need the coverage (such as those already covered by Medicare) are least likely to be pushing for any changes.

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