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News Analysis: U.S. Democrats brace for Obamacare's impact on midterm Congressional elections

By Matthew Rusling

WASHINGTON, May 30 (Xinhua) -- While many problems with U.S. President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul have been cleared up, Democrats may still feel the sting of public dislike for the new law in November's midterm Congressional elections, experts said.

The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, sparked controversy eight months ago on the law's botched rollout, as its centerpiece website saw numerous technical glitches and around 4 million Americans were dropped from their healthcare plans after their coverage did not comply with Obamacare's requirements.

While the U.S. economy and jobs still top the list of Americans ' concerns, Obamacare risks becoming somewhat of a poster child for all that Americans believe is wrong with the White House and Democrats, analysts said.

"Obamacare is really a symptom of all of the issues. It's really a symptom that people are unhappy with Washington. And right now they're willing to (elect) anyone who (they feel) is going to give them a better path to the future," Republican Strategist Ford O'Connell told Xinhua. "Obamacare is the symbol right now for all that (people feel is) going wrong with respect to big government solutions."

Though the Obama administration is boasting higher-than- expected enrollment for the new healthcare law, only a minority of Americans -- 43 percent -- approve of the healthcare overhaul, a Gallup poll found Thursday.

Moreover, Obama's flagging approval numbers and voters' wariness of Obamacare are bedeviling Democrats in the run-up to the 2014 midterm elections, with Republican candidates taking the lead in a number of competitive races, a Politico poll released earlier this month found.

Likely voters in districts where November's midterm elections will be decided said they would vote for a Republican candidate over a Democrat, the poll also found.

Christopher Galdieri, assistant professor at Saint Anselm College, told Xinhua that while people continue to dislike the law as a whole, they do like many of the provisions in the legislation.

Moreover, millions are now getting healthcare coverage from the bill, although it is not clear how many of those had been previously kicked off their previous plans.

"We'll have to wait and see if Democrats are able to capitalize on this when campaigning begins in earnest," said Galdieri, who insisted that Democrats are still not out of the woods on Obamacare yet.

"Particularly on the Senate front, the fundamentals in many states favor Republicans regardless of the (healthcare law's) role in those states," he said.

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