Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced she was running for president in front of a crowd of supporters in her home state of Massachusetts.
During her speech, Warren declared “this is the fight of our lives” and that she was “in that fight all the way.”
As it turns out, Warren’s campaign is in the fight of its life. After a slow but steady rise over several months to the top tier in the polls, her campaign is in a dramatic freefall.
The most recent Quinnipiac University national poll of Democrats and independent voters who lean Democrat saw her support cut in half — from 28% in October to 14% in November.
She’s not doing any better in key caucus and primary states, either. The four most recent polls in the caucus state of Iowa show her behind South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) jousting with her for second place. Warren had led or had been tied in polls there for several weeks prior.
Warren’s support in New Hampshire has cratered as well. She now trails both Buttigieg and Sanders after trading the top spot with Biden and Sanders for several weeks.
For those wondering what happened, the answer is clear: Not even Democratic voters are buying what Warren is selling when it comes to Medicare for All, a central tenet and core component of her campaign.
To be sure, Warren had been selling Medicare for All for months as her polling numbers rose. But it’s when she released the details of her plan at the beginning of November that the decline began.
Because at that point, she was no longer merely trying to sell the plan. She was attempting to get voters to buy into it. Almost quite literally.
Warren had dodged and weaved on the question of whether or not the middle class would have to help pay for her plan every time she had been asked about it. Whether during interviews or at debates, her answer was always the same: billionaires were going to foot the bill. The “total costs” for the middle class would go down.
Reading between the lines, it was clear she knew but was unwilling to admit that middle–class taxes would have to go up in order to help pay for it.
When she released her actual plan instead of piggybacking off of Sanders’ idea, she stated that there would be “not one penny in middle-class tax increases.”
It was an insult to the intelligence of voters everywhere — and not just Democratic voters. It’s a $52 trillion plan, and there’s no way “the rich” could fund all of it. Even people who don’t follow politics closely could figure that out.
As for how Medicare for All itself is polling, the news is not much better. According to Axios, “Poll after poll shows voters like the idea of Medicare for All. But the second you tell them about costs and tradeoffs, they turn on it.”
In other words, once Warren moved beyond the general idea of Medicare for All to addressing the actual specifics of it, her support started to evaporate.
Beyond voter concerns about how much they’ll have to pay in increased taxes for the plan is the issue of private health insurance choices, which Warren wants to eliminate.
Warren’s plan stands in stark contrast to Buttigieg’s “Medicare for All Who Want It” plan, which he claims gives consumers more choices.
Guess who the main beneficiary of Warren’s polling decline has been over the last month? Pete Buttigieg.
When it comes to health insurance overhauls, Democratic voters have made it clear they’re more on board with having choices and not having their taxes raised in order to pay for any big changes.
Stacey Matthews is a veteran blogger who has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to Red State and Legal Insurrection.