Americans Divided On Complete Repeal Of ObamaCare

Two new polls seem to indicate that, while most Americans aren’t happy with the Affordable Care Act for one reason or another, there isn’t broad support for the complete repeal of the law which the House will vote on later today.

First, a new Quinnipiac poll shows a bare plurality supporting repeal:

A slim majority of Americans want Congress to repeal the Obama administration’s healthcare reform law, a new poll reported Tuesday.

The poll by Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, released today, found that 48 percent of Americans want the Republican-controlled Congress to repeal the reform legislation, while 43 percent want the law to stay in place.

According to Quinnipiac, the slight over-all support for repeal is because of independents. Fifty-four percent want the law repealed, 37 percent do not. Among Democrats and Republicans the divide is much wider — 76 percent of Democrats support the healthcare reform law and 83 percent of Republicans oppose it.

However, when presented with different options in a new Washington Post poll, the results are somewhat different:

Overall, Americans’ views of the sweeping health-care overhaul, again under debate on Capitol Hill, remain firmly entrenched, with little change in stiff partisanship on the issue. Some 45 percent of those polled support the law, and 50 percent oppose it, numbers that exactly match their averages in Post-ABC polls going back to August 2009.


Despite the relative popularity of the detractors’ arguments, there is still little consensus among opponents about the right approach to amending the legislation.

Those who do not support the law are split about evenly between advocating for its complete repeal (33 percent), a partial repeal (35 percent) and a wait-and-see approach (30 percent). Fully two-thirds of all Republicans say they want the law repealed, at least partly.

In other words, the public still doesn’t really know what it wants when it comes to health care reform and, as this chart shows, the numbers haven’t really changed much since the law was passed:

Politically, this suggests that Republicans should tread lightly when it comes to health care reform.

FILED UNDER: Healthcare Policy, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. sam says:

    “Politically, this suggests that Republicans should tread lightly when it comes to health care reform.”

    Matt Yglesias has a interesting piece up, Free Market Heath Care. He quotes Amy Goldstein at the Washington Post:

    As many as 129 million Americans under age 65 have medical problems that are red flags for health insurers, according to an analysis that marks the government’s first attempt to quantify the number of people at risk of being rejected by insurance companies or paying more for coverage. The secretary of health and human services released the study on Tuesday, hours before the House plans to begin considering a Republican bill that would repeal the new law to overhaul the health-care system.

    He then points out that the only reason most of us have health insurance is because we don’t have a free market for health insurance (government subsidies for employer-supplied health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.):

    An actual free market approach to health care would require unraveling all of this and subjecting everyone to a world in which you can’t get coverage if you’re sick. Which is exactly how you would expect a free market to work. A pyromaniac is going to have a hard time getting fire insurance; if you say “give me some car insurance so I can polish off this bottle of vodka and go drive home” you’re going to have a problem. There’s no reason the market should provide health insurance to people with health problems, and there’s every reason for the market to suspect that anyone who’s asking for health insurance has a secret health problem.

    Perhaps the public doesn’t know what it wants when it comes to health care reform, but I’m pretty sure that if the facts are explained, one thing they wouldn’t want it a “free market” in health care.

  2. Tano says:

    “…the public still doesn’t really know what it wants when it comes to health care reform ..”

    This is, and has been throughout the long debate over Obamacare, a significant majority of Americans who have supported Obamacare, or something more liberal.

    The “something more liberal” number is almost always subsumed within the “oppose Obamacare” number – when pollsters only ask a simple support/oppose question. Opponents on the right have always argued as if all of the ‘oppose’ vote refers to those who oppose from the right. But that has never been the case.

    Whenever the obvious second question is asked in a poll – if you oppose Obamacare, why do you do so? – the consistent finding is that opposition from the right is in the low to mid forties, and opposition from the left is in the teens. When you add those 10-20% to Obamacare supporters, you get the consistent result of majority support for Obamacare on something more liberal.

  3. Herb says:

    “Politically, this suggests that Republicans should tread lightly when it comes to health care reform.”

    Reform or repeal? “Repeal” is all about fooling their voters. But “Reform” is another story. At some point, Obamacare is going to need to be reformed. They should prepare for that rather than go with this repeal pipe dream.