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Public Divided On Repeal Of ObamaCare

According to a new Gallup poll, public opinion on repeal of the Affordable Care Act is divided at best:

PRINCETON, NJ — Americans do not strongly endorse the new Republican House majority’s efforts to repeal the landmark healthcare legislation passed last year. A new Gallup poll finds that 46% of Americans want their representative in Congress to vote to repeal the healthcare law, 40% want their representative to vote to let the law stand, and 14% have no opinion.

Gallup conducted the Jan. 4-5 poll as the new Congress elected last fall began its work. Republicans’ gains in the 2010 midterm elections were partly the result of voter frustration with the growth in the size of government, exemplified by the new healthcare law President Obama signed into law last March. Republican congressional leaders vowed to attempt to overturn the law as one of their first acts after taking majority control of the U.S. House of Representatives. However, with Democrats still in control of the Senate, it is unlikely a repeal would pass both houses of Congress, and President Obama would surely veto it if it does.

Americans’ broadly divided opinions on repealing the healthcare legislation are in line with Gallup polling from much of the past two years that showed the bill struggling to gain majority public support both before and shortly after its passage. Polls conducted more recently have shown Americans generally more opposed to than in favor of the healthcare law.

There are some interesting numbers in the partisan breakdown, though:

The fact that fully 1/4 of Democrats support repeal is, to say the least, interesting. Nonetheless, I largely agree with Mark Halperin’s take on this:

The questions on various surveys of course differ slightly, but the reality is that the health care law’s approval rating continues to hover around the 50% mark, or at least play out between the 40-yard lines. While that would suggest a tie of sorts, Democrats will remain on the defensive for the foreseeable future because of the midterm results, the press-driven meta narrative about health care, the Republicans’ simple “anti” message (versus the Democrats’ constantly shifting defenses of the program), and the weak economy. The White House closely tracks these poll numbers and clearly hopes for a significant rise in approval as time goes on (and the various provisions get phased in), but it is hard (and maybe impossible) for the administration to turn the tide anytime soon.

Of  course, at the same time, the GOP’s efforts to repeal the bill are going to fail as long as there is a Democrat in the White House and less than 60 Republicans in the Senate, but the fact remains that the signature piece of legislation of Barack Obama’s first term is, if not wildly unpopular, at the very least the subject of deep division in the public.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. JKB says:

    True, it can’t make it past the President but having a string of votes from now until the 2012 election will certainly cut out the wiggle room for those hoping to escape accountability.

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  2. reid says:

    It’s a subject of deep division because the Republicans and friends (Fox, etc.) have made it such, and in a highly politicized fashion, to boot. I’d like to see how the numbers work out for those who actually have some idea what “Obamacare” is. One way to dig into that is to do what’s been done in the past, which is poll the individual elements; it polls much better then. The bottom line is that despite a lot of effort by the right to discredit HCR, it’s probably never going to be less popular than it is today.

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  3. sam says:

    “True, it can’t make it past the President but having a string of votes from now until the 2012 election will certainly cut out the wiggle room for those hoping to escape accountability.”

    Hmmm. See Americans Are Divided About Health Reform Proposals Overall, But the Public, Including Critics, Becomes More Supportive When Told About Key Provisions.

    I think what you see is the Democrats highlighting the many aspects of the reform that they strongly support, for instance:

    [A]fter hearing that tax credits would be available to small businesses that want to offer coverage to their employees, 73 percent said it made them more supportive of the legislation. Sixty-seven percent said they were more supportive when they heard that the legislation included health insurance exchanges, and 63 percent felt that way after being told that people could no longer be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Sixty percent were more supportive after hearing that the legislation would help close the Medicare “doughnut hole” so that seniors would no longer face a period of having to pay the full cost of their medicines. Of the 27 elements of the legislation tested in the poll, 17 moved a majority to feel more positively about the bills and two moved a majority to be more negative.

    Already there are ads on TV telling seniors about the donut hole provision. And the provision allowing children to stay on their parents’ policies will poll pretty well.

    It’s not the slam dunk the Republicans seem to think it is.

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  4. tom p says:

    >>>”but the fact remains that the signature piece of legislation of Barack Obama’s first term is, if not wildly unpopular, at the very least the subject of deep division in the public.”<<<but the fact remains that the REPEAL OF THE signature piece of legislation of Barack Obama’s first term is, if not wildly unpopular, at the very least the subject of deep division in the public<

    Fixed that for you Doug.

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  5. anjin-san says:

    No one outside the Fox Newsverse is buying the line that HCR is somehow wildly unpopular or “against the will of the people”. The more people learn about it, the more they are probably going to like it.

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  6. Jack says:

    Doug, the very fact that you call it “Obamacare” shows how the GOP and the right in general has succeeded in framing the debate. Much to the dismay of those on the left, especially the far left, President Obama took a hands-off approach to the health-care bill, so it might more properly be called “Pelosicare” because of all the compromises made to the very Republicans who then voted against the bill.

    When surveys are taken on the separate provisions of the law, suddenly, you see a majority in support of the law.

    However, since the right has succeeded in “framing the issue” with people such as yourself who present themselves as “reasonable” calling it “Obamacare” you can ask poll questions that will give you any answer you want.

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