CNN Poll: Majority oppose individual mandate
June 9th, 2011
12:17 PM ET
4 years ago

CNN Poll: Majority oppose individual mandate

Washington (CNN) - As a federal appeals court hears a lawsuit against the new health care law, a new national poll indicates that a majority of Americans oppose the provision in the measure that mandates heath insurance coverage.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Thursday, by a 54 to 44 percent margin, the public opposes the individual mandate in the law, which is scheduled to take effect in the next few years.

Read the full results (pdf).

"Most Americans continue to dislike the idea of the federal government requiring all Americans to have health insurance," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Opposition to the idea comes mostly from older Americans and men; not surprisingly, eight in ten Republicans also oppose it."

President Barack Obama signed the health care reform bill into law last spring, after a year and a half of fierce debate in Congress and in town halls across the country. The measure passed both the House and Senate mostly along party lines.

The controversy is also sensitive for Republican White House candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is on top in most of the latest polls in the battle for the GOP presidential nomination.

A law that Romney signed as governor five years ago that included a mandate for Massachusetts residents, which is seen by many as the inspiration for the new national law, could be a political liability for Romney, who is making his second bid for the Republican nomination.

The poll indicates that 56 percent oppose the new health care law, with 39 percent in support of the measure. But about one in four opponents of the bill dislike it because it did not go far enough. Fewer than four in ten Americans oppose the new law because it is too liberal.

"While the new health care law passed by the Democrats last year remains unpopular, a significant chunk of that opposition comes from liberals who think the bill did not go far enough," adds Holland.

The release of the poll comes one day after a federal appeals court in Atlanta began hearing arguments on a massive lawsuit brought against the law by Florida and 25 other states.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals was the latest of three similar federal panels across the country to hear challenges by states and private groups to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Separate rulings from those courts in coming months will form the basis of a certain appeal to the Supreme Court, which could offer the final word on the landmark legislation, perhaps in time for the 2012 election year.

The main issue was the law's so-called individual mandate, the requirement that most Americans purchase health insurance by 2014 or face severe financial penalties.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted June 3 through June 7, with 1,015 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: CNN poll • Healthcare • Polls
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Democrat Swamp Inspector - Help Wanted, Now Hiring, Overtime Possibilities

    The KEYS to the 2012 election and the taking of the Senate and Whitehouse is the relentless emphasis on the failed economic policies (unemployment, deficit, debt, spending) and OBAMACARE (with its unconstitutional mandate). The ONLY way to get rid of Obamacare and get this country moving again is to flush the Senate of Democrats and the Whitehouse of Obama.

    June 9, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. james - St. Paul, MN

    It would be interesting to learn the actual wording of the poll. Since the majority of Americans already have coverage, and a minority do not have coverage, it seems unlikely that the majority would find it offensive that the government seeks to have everybody enjoy the benefits of coverage. Polls are skewed very profoundly by the language of the questions asked, and this report would lead any thoughtful person to assume that the language in this particular poll implies something negative about having coverage, rather than pointing to the benefits for all when all enjoy health insurance coverage.

    June 9, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "Most Americans continue to dislike the idea of the federal government requiring all Americans to have health insurance,"
    -------------------------------------------------–
    Get over it.
    Gotta file taxes, pay and get auto insurance, but you don't want to be told that as best as you're able you need to get some health insurance? You'd rather have someone else pay for you, or not pay at all. Maybe you think you will NEVER get sick and have a need for health inusurance.
    Maybe you've been listening to Stupid Sarah telling you that ALL government mandates are not good for Amerikuns?
    Yes, perhaps that's it.
    !?!

    June 9, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. Pam

    This will be watched with much interest. If it is proven to be unconstitutional to require me to have health insurance, it is just as unconstitutional for my state to require me to carry auto insurance.
    And I agree iwth James from St Paul – most Americans will feel no impact from this mandate if they already have coverage. The ones who will get hurt are those who dont have coverage now because they cannot afford it and unless the government is going to pay for it, lower income families will suffer.

    June 9, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. Fair is Fair

    If the individual mandate goes down, the whole thing completely collapses under it's own weight.

    June 9, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  6. gt

    to bad .. why shouldnt everyone pay... you can bet if they dont have health care , if any thing goes wrong , they will want the government , us, to pay there bills.. everyone should pay something... and drug test everyone too...

    June 9, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    I guess people would rather maintain the status quo. It seems the majority prefer the current "death panels" administered by private companies whose only motive is their own profit, not your health. The companies always prefer that you were no longer a liability that they had to cover. Their practices are the reason why we have Medicare in the first place.

    June 9, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. Fair is Fair

    "This will be watched with much interest. If it is proven to be unconstitutional to require me to have health insurance, it is just as unconstitutional for my state to require me to carry auto insurance."

    No, it is not. No one is forcing you to drive. Get a horse.

    June 9, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  9. Democrat Swamp Inspector - Help Wanted, Now Hiring, Overtime Possibilities

    Look at the actual poll for the wording, it is there.

    It gets even worse when asked about Obamacare, 56% opposed it, 39% support it.

    As I said, if the republicans pound away on Obamacare, they are guaranteed control of the Senate and Whitehouse.

    June 9, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:
    If the individual mandate goes down, the whole thing completely collapses under it's own weight.
    ----------
    Don't you understand that the entire individual mandate objection is a smoke screen? Why would insureres reject the opportunity to gain millions and millions of new customers? They don't complain about mandated auto insurance, so why only resist the mandate for health insurance? Because the individual mandate is not the real reason. Insurers dislike the mandates placed upon them. They would love to embrace millions of new customers, but not with the risk and uncertainty it presents.

    June 9, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. Brian, NJ

    Those who have insurance and oppose the mandate have their heads up their rear ends. Those of us with insurance are paying higher premiums to COVER those without insurance as hospitals have to bill us higher to recoup losses on the uninsured. More people insured means lower premiums for all, simple. What about my constitutional rights to NOT HAVE TO PAY FOR SOMEONE WITHOUT INSURANCE!! Romney made a better case for a mandate on Piers Morgan the other night than Obama has for the past two years.

    June 9, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. Citizenny

    The parts of Obamacare that are in affect already have driven up the cost of my health care premiums as well as my co-pay amounts! And that is BEFORE the entire bill takes place in 2014! You can't compare the health insurance mandate to auto insurance because those people who do not drive cars are not required to get auto insurance, so the comparison between the two is unequal.

    June 9, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. gish

    America the greatest, Gods best country on the face of the green earth..blah..blah..blah, what great country cant take care of its people health wise, this country has a very horrible healthcare system , and when someone tries to bring sanity to forestall efficiency and fairness, people ideologically draw lines. What a pathetic people, grow up America, this is a good start to how the system can be tackled.The ACA might not be the ultra best, but hey its a pretty solid start, a tweak here and there and we are in business, the mandate is crucial for eventual success, you loud mouth critics.Have a life all opposer's.

    June 9, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. Democrat Swamp Inspector - Help Wanted, Now Hiring, Overtime Possibilities

    If it is proven to be unconstitutional to require me to have health insurance, it is just as unconstitutional for my state to require me to carry auto insurance.
    ==============================================================================================
    Come on, enough of this stupidity. If you drive a car on the roads, you need to buy auto insurance. The correct comparison is to force you to buy auto insurance whether you have a car or not, just because you might in the future, have an emergency that requires you to drive a car. Now that's sounds fair and Constitutional right?

    June 9, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  15. EatRunDive

    Our emergency rooms are full of those who oppose the mandate.

    June 9, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  16. Omar

    We are long overdue for a serious national fight over single payer. It is the only sensible solution . We need to eliminate the insurance cartels once and for all. Lets join the rest of the industrialized world in having universal public heath care funded by a progressive tax. No matter what the penalty is, I wont give a penny to the insurance cartels.

    June 9, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    The current health care reform debate is a classic example of information and disinformation. The public has been taught what to think without their realizing what is occurring. As a Michael Steele said last week when discussing the Ryan Plan, the problem with the Ryan Plan is messaging. "People are not listening to what we are telling them to think." He actually said that.

    June 9, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "The parts of Obamacare that are in affect already have driven up the cost of my health care premiums as well as my co-pay amounts! "

    It is a verifiable fact that what you just said is false. They were going up regardless, just like they've been going up for the past several decades and insurers have used the ACA as a cover story for why they continue to jack up their premiums. There's no giant spike in the trend line for premiums.

    June 9, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  19. Will

    Talk about a meaningless poll. This doesn't tell us anything. Why would it be relevant, for example, that people with health insurance were opposed to the idea of being mandate to have health insurance? Were they planning on getting rid of their insurance and now are stuck with it? What about people without health insurance? What percentage of those people are opposed to being forced to buy insurance? Why would someone with insurance be opposed to other people being forced to buy the same insurance? It's against their own interest to be opposed to the mandate, since it almost certainly spreads risk that they know share. Are people really that stupid?

    June 9, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "significant chunk of that opposition comes from liberals who think the bill did not go far enough"

    Reading comprehension. Get some.

    June 9, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. John

    Dominican mama 4 Obama and Pam.....You are both wrong on auto insurance. You only need it to operate a car. And also you are only required to carry liability.

    June 9, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "As a Michael Steele said last week when discussing the Ryan Plan, the problem with the Ryan Plan is messaging. "People are not listening to what we are telling them to think." He actually said that."

    haha...yeah...for the GOP it's always the lipstick's fault, not the pig's.

    June 9, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    gish: Very well said!! I concur. It is NOT a perfect system but we must address this issue and start someplace.

    June 9, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Citizenny wrote:
    The parts of Obamacare that are in affect already have driven up the cost of my health care premiums as well as my co-pay amounts
    ----------–
    The only parts of the ACA in effect are tax credits to small businesses. The cost of your heath care rising has nothing to do with the ACA becoming law. Most insurers tried to raise the rates by 20-60% before the law was even voted on. Finally, one last piece of bad news. Even if the law were repealed today your rates would still go up, and they would rise at a rate decided by how much profit the insurers wish to make. The ACA limits their profit. Insurers really hate that part, and many others. So they buy ads and pay politicians to tell people that the law is bad because the individual mandate is unconstitutional

    June 9, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  25. obama victim

    well...we get to vote on this. People spoke in Nov '10....and will again in Nov 12......the people don't like it. Barry is history.

    June 9, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
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