voters who backed Barack Obama in the presidential election one year
ago and either switched support to Republican Senate candidate Scott
Brown, or simply stayed home, said in a poll conducted after the
election Tuesday night that if Democrats enact tougher policies on Wall
Street, they'll be more likely to come back to the party in the next
A majority of Obama voters who switched to Brown said that
"Democratic policies were doing more to help Wall Street than Main
A full 95 percent said the economy was important or very important when it came to deciding their vote.
In a somewhat paradoxical finding, a plurality of voters who
switched to the Republican -- 37 percent -- said that Democrats were
not being "hard enough" in challenging Republican policies.
It would be hard to find a clearer indication, it seems, that Tuesday's vote was cast in protest.
The poll also upends the conventional understanding of health care's
role in the election. A plurality of people who switched -- 48 -- and
didn't vote -- 43 -- said that they opposed the Senate health care
bill. But the poll dug deeper and asked people why they opposed it.
Among Brown voters, 23 percent thought it went "too far" -- but 36
percent thought it didn't go far enough; 41 percent said they weren't
sure why they opposed it.
For voters who stayed home and opposed health care, a full 53
percent said they opposed the Senate health care bill because it didn't
go far enough; 39 percent weren't sure and only eight percent thought
it didn't go far enough.
The firm Research 2000 conducted the post-election survey Tuesday
night on behalf of three progressive organizations -- the Progressive
Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America and MoveOn.org.
The firm discovered that 18 percent of Obama backers who voted in the Senate race ended up casting ballots for Brown.
Taken from interviews of 500 Obama backers who voted in the Senate
election and 500 Obama backers who sat out the election, the results
suggest that supporters of the president are more committed to
comprehensive health care legislation than to any particular political
party -- although the willingness of public option proponents to
support a Brown candidacy suggests that health care may in the end not
have been a determining factor.
These numbers have to be a cause for concern among Democratic
lawmakers skittish about the House of Representatives passing, pro
forma, the Senate's version of reform. For those progressives demanding
that the party use reconciliation to push from something larger than
the Senate's bill, the survey provides something of a boost.
More details on the poll here.