Howard Dean: Obama faced “populist revolt”

Howard Dean has revealed key polling data which shows that the defeat in Massachusetts was due to dissatisfaction with Obama caused by his moderate healthcare bill.

Former Democratic president hopeful, Howard Dean, has revealed key polling data which shows that the Democrats’ defeat in Massachusetts was due to dissatisfaction with Obama caused by his healthcare bill being too moderate.

Speaking on BBC Newsnight last night, the architect of President Obama’s 50-state strategy said:

“We did some polling on that overnight, it was very interesting. Eighteen per cent of the people who voted for Scott Brown were Obama voters; of those, by 3:2 they wanted a public option in the healthcare bill which meant they thought the bill didn’t go far enough.

“We then polled Obama voters who didn’t bother to vote – of them, 6:1 decided they wanted a public option and they didn’t think the bill went far enough.

“So this is not, contrary to what a lot of American pundits are talking about, this is not a revolt of the right, this is Barack Obama’s core base not thinking that we’ve done what he was asked to do.”

Watch it:

Mr Dean added:

“I think in general the President’s done a very, very good job and he doesn’t get much credit for it. He’s done a teriffic job on the environment, he’s restored America’s good name around the world. I am disappointed in healthcare, I think we’ve missed a golden opportunity, I don’t the opportunity is over yet and frankly I think it maybe healthy to have lost a seat…

“He’s a very smart president, I think there’s a lesson for everybody – I hope they draw the right one. The lesson is not to move further to the right and compromise more, that’s clearly that’s a losing proposition. The message is to speak to your base, to stand up for what you believe in …

“I think strong leadership matters a lot, I think the President’s capable of strong leadership and I think you’ll see that from now on.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.