Poll: Likely Voters Dislike Supreme Court PPACA Decision By Small Margin

Following up on the Gallup poll I took note of on Friday, Newsweek and The Daily Beast are out with a new poll of likely voters that shows a slight majority opposing the decision, however it doesn’t seem to have any real impact on their choice in the Presidential election:

Voters are reacting in broadly negative ways to the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the legislation known as Obamacare, a new Newsweek/Daily Beast poll finds, with a majority disapproving of the ruling, fearing health-care costs and taxes will rise, and preferring Mitt Romney to President Obama on the issue

At the same time, voters scored the ruling a short-term political win for the president by a huge margin.

Overall, 50 percent of those polled said they disapprove of the court’s 5-4 decision, while 45 percent said they support it. Consistently, a majority of voters said that they oppose the individual mandate (53 percent); believe taxes will increase (52 percent); believe their personal health-care costs will increase (56 percent); and disapprove of Obama’s handling of health care in general (58 percent). Only 24 percent of those polled said that they believe the ruling will make the country better off.

Against Romney, Obama maintains a narrow lead in the presidential race, 47 percent to 44 percent. Twenty-one percent said that they were open to changing their mind. State-by-state polls are more useful in predicting the actual outcome of a presidential contest, but national horse-race numbers are something to talk about while the election is still months away. The president’s approval rating stands at 45 percent. Fifty-nine percent of poll respondents said they believe the country is headed in the wrong direction—down slightly from about a year ago, in May 2011, when 65 percent said the country was on the wrong track.

Even as those polled said that they prefer Romney to Obama on health care—as well as almost every other issue, with the exception of terrorism, foreign policy, and education—voters said that they trust Democrats more than Republicans overall on the major questions facing the nation, 37 percent to 32 percent.

One thing to note is the difference between this poll and polls taken before the Court ruled last Thursday. Just a few weeks ago, a CBS/New York Times poll [PDF] showed that  67% of adults wanted to see at least the mandate over turned and 41% wanted to see the entire law struck down. This was consistent with polling prior to oral argument in March which showed the exact same percentage wanting to see at least the mandate overturned. Now, it’s worth noting that these two polls were of “Adults” while the new poll is of “Likely Voters,” but in all honestly it seems unlikely that there would be a 17 point difference between the two distinct types of polling groups. Additionally,  the Gallup poll on Friday showed American “Adults” nearly equally divided on the ruling, and that is clearly a significant difference from pre-decision polling of the same group.

This is, of course,  a “flash” poll and numbers may change as people have more time to evaluate the decision over the next few weeks, and as politicians on both sides spin the outcome in the ways they see fit. At least immediately, though, it is beginning to look as though this may not be the political bonanza the GOP is expecting. Let’s wait and see what happens.

FILED UNDER: Healthcare Policy, Law and the Courts, Public Opinion Polls, Terrorism, 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. michael reynolds says:

    At least immediately, though, it is beginning to look as though this may not be the political bonanza the GOP is expecting.

    I am so not surprised.

  2. The dust hasn’t settled. It will take a month or two for the whole “Obama can’t do that” to leave the equation, and for it to get back to “what’s the best path forward?”

    Right now we’ve got a bunch of people on the right who have health insurance angry that they have to buy health insurance. We’ve even got people on the right with health insurance angry that if they didn’t have health insurance then theoretically they’d have to pay a tax. It would theoretically be a tax increase.

    That’s not rational. That’s flailing for something to be angry about.

  3. Ron Beasley says:

    If the Obama campaign was smart they would use Daniel Larison”s Romney foreign policy posts in campaign ads.

  4. Aidan says:

    I disagree with the decision but am pleased by the outcome. The final decision strikes me as fairly contorted and makes perfect sense as a political decision (and I don’t really have a huge problem with that), but I would certainly have preferred a ruling along the lines of the Ginsburg concurrence (or dissent?).

    I would complain about the vagueness of the polling questions, but I’ve pretty much given up on expecting any sort of nuanced public opinion on the law.

  5. C. Clavin says:

    5 points…with a margin of error of 4 points? Slim just left town.

    Senate Minority Leader Turtle-Face (R-Kentucky) says 30 million people without insurance is not an issue. See…he’s not concerned with 10% of the Nation free-riding the system and costing the rest of us more money…he’s concerned about the “tax” that 1% of the nation too stupid to buy insurance will have to pay. (Frankly…I think taxing stupid is smart.)
    House Leader Fake Tan (R-Ohio) said:

    “…Governor R’money (ok…he didn’t really say R’money) understands that Obamacare will bankrupt our country and ruin the best health care delivery system in the world…”

    How is it that a health care system that delivers lesser results for vastly more money than the health care sytems in the rest of the world is the best health care system in the world? By what metric?
    And bankrupt the Nation? Seriously? Forget that the CBO analysis says the PPACA will actually reduce the deficit…and forget that we are already seeing positive results…bankrupt the United States? Fake Tan voted for two unpaid for tax cuts, two unpaid for wars, and an unpaid for Medicare expansion. The tax cuts alone are the biggest driver of the deficit. And yet now he knows better than the CBO.
    Seriously…when the best arguments you have against it are totally and utterly nonsensical…maybe it’s best just to STFU.

  6. al-Ameda says:

    I am very surprised that the polling is this close. Given the 24 month of apocalyptic propaganda predicting tpotential loss of freedom and impending serfdom, I expected a much wider margin. By the way, did the passage of Medicare cause any conservatives to move to Canada to escape our dalliance with Soviet communism?

  7. An Interested Party says:

    If the Obama campaign was smart they would use Daniel Larison”s Romney foreign policy posts in campaign ads.

    If they were really smart, they would constantly remind people that PPACA is based on Romney’s own plan from Massachusetts, to provide even more evidence of how Mr. Weather Vane will twist whichever way he can if he thinks it will help him politically…

  8. michael reynolds says:

    @john personna:
    I’ve thought this all along. This has been hysteria fed by Fox and by the fact that the Obama administration did a pitiful job explaining the legislation. In reality there’s nothing for people to be hating on. It’s rage for its own sake.

  9. Scott O says:

    I’d like to see a poll where they also ask people where they get their news from. If someone believes that the Obamacare contains death panels, or that Canadians routinely die while on waiting lists for on operation, or that they are going to have to pay a sales tax when they sell their house, etc., why should we care what their opinion is?