Poll: Health care lawsuit 'not a political winner' for McCollum

By Chris Rizo | Apr 19, 2010

Bill McCollum (R)

Alex Sink (D)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline)-Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum's campaign for governor could be hurt by the multistate lawsuit he is leading against the new federal health care law, a poll indicates.

A majority of Florida voters say McCollum should not have filed a legal challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which requires, among other things, that most Americans have medical coverage by 2014 or face financial penalties.

The Quinnipiac University Poll released Monday shows 54 percent of Florida voters say they believe it was a "bad idea" for McCollum to file the lawsuit, while 40 percent of respondents said they think it was a "good idea."

Thirty-eight percent of the poll's 1,250 respondents said the lawsuit makes them less likely to support McCollum in his race for governor.

Among independents, traditionally a key voting bloc in Florida, 41 percent of them said the lawsuit makes them less likely to vote for McCollum, while 27 percent said the challenge sways their vote in the attorney general's favor.

"Florida voters mostly disapprove of the health care plan, 48-44 percent, but trying to stop it in court is not a political winner for McCollum, at least at this point," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

So far, McCollum remains the race's frontrunner. He leads Alex Sink, the state's Democratic chief financial officer, 40 percent to 36 percent, a recent poll showed. McCollum had led Sink by 10 points in hypothetical general election match-ups.

McCollum's lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, is the vehicle that 19 states are using to challenge the nearly $1 trillion health care overhaul signed last month by President Barack Obama.

Heath care reform had been the cornerstone of the president's domestic policy agenda since he assumed office in January 2009. The new law will expand insurance coverage to more than 32 million Americans, making it the most significant expansion of medical care since Congress created Medicare in 1965 for the nation's elderly and disabled.

In addition to the individual insurance mandate, the law will require that businesses with more than 50 workers provide employees health coverage or pay a $2,000-a-worker penalty if any of their employees get government-subsidized plans on their own.

The states involved in McCollum's lawsuit are Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Louisiana, Alabama, Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington, Idaho, South Dakota, Indiana, North Dakota, Mississippi, Nevada and Arizona.

The Quinnipiac survey was taken April 8-13 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points. Quinnipiac University Polling Institute is based in Hamden, Conn.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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