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Hours before the wavering House Democrats decide whether to vote for health care reform with a public health insurance option, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee is releasing new poll results fresh out of Virgina.

We polled 800 Virginia Democrats and Independents who voted for Obama in 2008 but didn't turn out for Creigh Deeds in 2009. The main finding? A huge majority of these voters thought Deeds "wasn't progressive enough."

Not only that, but many will decide whether to vote in 2010 based on whether or not Democrats pass a public option, and specifically said they were less likely to vote for Deeds after he said he would "opt out" Virginia from the public option.

Democrats in Congress: Are you paying attention?
Below are highlights from the poll.  You can see more results here.

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Creigh Deeds seen as "not progressive enough" by huge margin. 64% of Democratic Obama voters and 58% of Independent Obama voters said Deeds was "not progressive enough" compared to only 8% of Democrats and 16% of Independent Obama voters who said he was "too far to the left." (Overall, 5 to 1.)

Obama's voters want the public option. 88% of Democratic Obama voters and 80% of Independent Obama voters favor a public health insurance option to compete with private insurance plans. 93% of those polled said health care is "very" or "somewhat" important when they vote.

Creigh Deeds hurt by opposition to public option. When asked, "Before the election for Governor, Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds said he would side with conservatives and push for Virginia to 'opt out' of the public insurance plan. Did this make you more excited or less excited to vote in this year's election, or did it have no impact?" 41% of those polled said it made them less excited, only 6% said it made them more excited (7 to 1).  

Without a public option, Obama voters will continue to drop off in 2010. 43% of Democratic and Independent Obama voters said they are less likely to vote at all in the 2010 general election if Congress does not pass a public option as part of health care reform, compared to only 8% who are more likely to vote. If they do vote, by 46% to 6%, they will be less likely to vote for a Democratic candidate if Democrats do not pass a public option.

Did this dropoff among Obama voters matter to Creigh Deeds? Absolutely. From Blue Virginia:

Last November, Barack Obama received 2.0 million votes and John McCain received 1.7 million votes. This November, Creigh Deeds received 0.8 million votes and Bob McDonnell received 1.2 million votes. Which means that Deeds "underperformed" Obama by 1.2 million votes, while McDonnell "underperformed" McCain by only 0.5 million votes. The difference between those two "underperformances": 700,000 votes, or more than twice the total that Creigh lost by.

Those of us who work on health care reform have been warning Democratic leaders for ages, and now we have proof.

If congressional Democrats want to win re-election in 2010, they need to support a strong public option. If they 'pull a Creigh Deeds' and oppose a public option--or run campaigns to the right of the electorate--Democrats and Independents who voted for President Obama in 2008 have shown they simply won't vote. And the results will be devastating for the Democrats.

Here are three things you can do right now with this information.

  1. Recommend this diary so others see.
  1. If you know anyone who works in Congress or the Democratic Party, forward this post to them today. Together, we can catapult this into the conventional wisdom and make sure Democrats act both more progressively and in their political self-interest.

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UPDATE:  Just learned that the dropoff numbers and analysis were actually from Lowell at Blue Virginia, NOT Rootswire. I fixed the link, and send big apologies to Lowell.

Originally posted to Stephanie Taylor on Sat Nov 07, 2009 at 12:42 PM PST.

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