- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Republicans in competitive Senate races across the country are backing off their reliance on Obamacare as their top weapon against Democrats on the airwaves, with a leading GOP pollster saying the health care overhaul isn’t going to be the most important issue for the fall midterms.

In April, for example, anti-Obamacare ads accounted for 54 percent of the top five issue ads in North Carolina, where incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan is locked in a tough race with Republican Thom Tillis, according to Kantar Media.

But in July, Bloomberg reported, anti-Obamacare ads accounted for just 27 percent of the top issue ads, with the budget, government spending, jobs, and unemployment comprising 72 percent of the ads.

Kantar’s Campaign Media Analysis Group found a similar shift in Louisiana and Arkansas, where Democratic incumbent Sens. Mary Landrieu and Mark Pryor are also in tough races.

“Obamacare will not be the most important issue,” said Republican pollster Whit Ayres, who co-wrote a memo this month for Republican-leaning outside groups saying the law nevertheless remains “a serious concern.”

He said another round of ads related to the health law could come next month when premium hikes related to new rates take effect.

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