CNN Poll: Should health care law be overturned?
March 26th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
3 years ago

CNN Poll: Should health care law be overturned?

Washington (CNN) – Most Americans don't want the Supreme Court to completely overturn the landmark yet controversial 2010 federal health care reform law, but only a quarter of the public wants to see the high court leave the measure alone, according to a new national survey.

And a CNN/ORC International poll also indicates that while the two year old law is growing in popularity, especially among independent voters, half of all Americans still oppose it, although some who disapprove of the measure do so because they think it's not liberal enough.

See full results (pdf)

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The poll's Monday release comes as the Supreme Court began hearing three days of potentially landmark oral arguments over the constitutionality of the sweeping health care measure, formally know as the Affordable Care Act, which was championed by President Barack Obama and passed by a Democratic controlled Congress.

According to the poll, 43% of Americans approve of the law, up five points from last November, with 50% saying they disapprove, down six points from last autumn. Of those who currently disapprove of the measure, 37% say they oppose the law because it's too liberal, with 10% saying the give the measure a thumbs down because it's not liberal enough.

"The views of Republicans and Democrats on the health care law have barely budged since last year," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But support among independents grew from 32 percent to 41 percent since November."

The survey indicates that 23% want the Supreme Court to leave the current law as is, with 43% saying some provisions should be overturned, and three in ten saying the justices should overturn the entire measure.

The principle question before the justices is whether the requirement that people buy health insurance is unconstitutional. The provision, known as the "individual mandate," was designed to help more people get affordable health insurance coverage - including the 49 million uninsured today - and bring health costs under control.

The health insurance mandate splits the public right down the middle, with a bare 51% majority of those questioned saying that they oppose it and 47% favoring the provision.

"Most women support the individual mandate," Holland notes. "Most men oppose it."

The potentially landmark arguments over the constitutionality of the sweeping health care law is one of the most politically charged cases in recent years in from of the Supreme Court. With a divided bench, do Americans think the justices will base their decisions mostly on an objective interpretation of the law? Fifty percent say that the justices' decisions will be based mostly on their personal political views, with 46% saying their decisions will based on an objective interpretation of the law. That may be one reason why six in ten Americans would like to see the Supreme Court allow televisions cameras into the courtroom when the justices hear arguments.

Will the Supreme Court's decisions on the health care law affect the general election in November? Maybe not. More than three-quarters say their vote would be unaffected if the high court strikes down all or part of the health care law, and the president might wind up gaining as much support as he would lose.

"One reason: only one in ten Americans say that health care is the most important issue facing the country today; more than half continue to name the economy as the country's top problem," adds Holland.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International Saturday and Sunday, with 1,014 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Also see:

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Graham's 'comfortable' with Romney

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soundoff (214 Responses)
  1. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Will the Supreme Court's decisions on the health care law affect the general election in November? Maybe not.
    =========================================================================================
    Two words.... DREAM ON!

    March 26, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Despite Fox, the Kochs and baggers, spending $200 million on negative ads about ACA, 43% favor it, 10% say it did not go far enough, 10% have no opinion and 37% oppose it. I would think that even slow learning republicans like Mittens and Ricky would be able to figure that out.

    March 26, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. v_mag

    I'm dissatisfied with the health care law because it didn't go far enough. Other civilized countries have a single-payer system, better care, and far lower costs. We should have had that here, and we would have if Repugnant elites didn't want to beat up on the middle class. Thanks to them, and an Extreme Court, we may well have a worse situation in the future than we do now, and the right wing will find a way to twist the truth and lay the blame on the President. After all, they blame him for the Bush/Republican crash of 2008. Incredible.

    March 26, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    If the majority of Americans see the need for ACA, will Mittens flip flop, and say he was for it, but Obama did it wrong?

    March 26, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  5. Another Day in the Idiot Mines

    There it is ya rigthwing extremists: only 37% oppose ACA. The rest support it currently or want it improved.

    March 26, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  6. 1twinsfan

    And one in seven think it's already been overturned and many others think it's responsible for their health insurance premium increases.

    March 26, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. Worried

    I am one of the worried ones. The healthcare system could use some tweaking and fraud clean-up but all in all I hope they don't overturn it.

    March 26, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. cali girl

    There are so many people that need this. My mom had breast cancer, her medical by herself is 1500a month, with lifetime coming up. She needs to be checked for years to come. My dad had prostate cancer. Same with him. They are not at the age for medicare.
    I have had skin cancer 3 times and guess what my own health care is ready to do? Boot me off, and if this health care mandate does not pass? I can get rejected by ANY provider due to my pre existing cancer. I for one support the affordable health care act.

    March 26, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  9. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    Simple answer: NO NO NO!!!!

    March 26, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  10. CrazyCrazyCrazy

    Just as thought, VERY few actually want this! Obamacare is not the answer we need as Americans...

    March 26, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  11. mrindependent

    There seem to be something wrong with the numbers. 47% support the individual mandate but only 23% want the law to be untouched by supreme court. So which part of the law do these other 24+% want turned off.

    March 26, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  12. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    Repeal will add to the deficit. I thought republicans were all about deficit reduction? Oh, I forgot. Their alternative to the ACA is Paul Ryan's Medicare Voucher Program.

    March 26, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  13. Scott

    I have a great idea! How about the people who poll YES on it get to have healthcare, and the people who poll NO on it don't get ANY healthcare. And then a year later, we'll vote on it again and we'll see how many people want healthcare after that. Because I'm PRETTY SURE most if not all the people polling to repeal it already have healthcare with or without the law.

    March 26, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. Claudia, Phoenix, AZ

    50% of those who oppose the law haven't read what's in the law and politicians know this so they are more than willing to "cherry pick" the law and interpreting it the way they chose which is negative.

    March 26, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. Dante666

    Frankly, the Universal Health Care act in of itself isn't entirely that bad. It handles the issues of pre-exisitng conditons and a host of other health care issues. The difficult part is the required mandate that everyone buy health insurance. Nice idea if you have funds to do so – the second aspect is the expectation that those that can afford insurance also pay for those that choose not to purchase insurance. For the poor – who picks up that tab? Taxpayers? We do that already with the emergency room visits and the hosptials, clinics and doctors that won't turn a person away – so why put the burden on tax payers? I didn't make the rule that says I have to treat someone – if you can pay great if you can't – good luck!

    March 26, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  16. Jim Hahn

    The whole protest against this law is quite amusing. I was amazed that the number of Americans who oppose Government sponsored health care who are on.....you guessed it: Medicare. At one protest near my house two years ago, at least 40% of the protestors were over 65. And clueless.

    March 26, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  17. A True Centrist

    People, any change to our health care system does not mean it will be better. The CBO already announced that the costs of ObamaCare will be DOUBLE what was estimated over the first ten years, and in only two of those years will benefits actually be paid. Pure administrative costs have added an extra $900 billion over 10 years.

    This bill is a disaster. That's why the Dem leadership had to BRIBE members of their own party to vote for the bill. Senator Landreau and Nelson should be ashamed of themselves, and at least one of them is going to lose their job because of it.

    March 26, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    What is misleading about this article is that even though the majority of those polled do not like the new health care law (and how did those folks get picked to be polled), they like just about every provision of it, especially the one that says they cannot be denied for pre-existing conditions (like pregnancy) and there are no annual or lifetime caps allowed. Of course, to make this whole thing work, we need the entire country as the health care pool.
    In my somewhat less than humble opinion, the Democrats should have pushed the "single-payer" option, especially as the federal government is the largest provider of health care in the country. That is what that great Republican President, Theodore Roosevelt, tried to get passed in the first decade of the 20th century!

    March 26, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  19. Peter E

    Curious. The roots of the law, and specifically of the individual mandate came from the republicans, and subsequently championed by Newt Gingrich in the early 90s.
    Suddenly republicans think the law is wrong only because a democratic administration took it up? It's a good thing the public has a short memory.

    March 26, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  20. A True Centrist

    "Repeal will add to the deficit. I thought republicans were all about deficit reduction? Oh, I forgot. Their alternative to the ACA is Paul Ryan's Medicare Voucher Program."

    That's wrong. The estimated costs over the first ten years have already doubled. Yes, it will take a lot of money to overturn this monstrosity, but it will save the country moving forward.

    Really, do a little reading. At the lowest end of the estimate, over 5 million people will lose their current healthcare options. That number could exceed 20 million people who may have to leave their current doctors, hospitals etc. This is a nightmare.

    March 26, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. Debbie

    While the poll is interesting to take the temperature of views in the USA it will have zero impact on the court. What do I think the court will do? It will be 4 to 4 in all parts of tossing the whole thing, keeping the whole thing or ruling on parts of the whole thing. I think Kennedy will be the sway vote. I think he will vote to keep part of it. Toss the mandate which tosses the tax issue. The question is without the mandate can the act function? And regardless of the case the sentiment of the country is that Congress still has done zero about jobs and the economy.

    March 26, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "half of all Americans still oppose it, although some who disapprove of the measure do so because they think it's not liberal enough."

    And yet, despite the data consistently returning a result like this, indicating that some people oppose it because it DOESN'T GO FAR ENOUGH, CNN and the rest of the MSM religiously avoid discussing that number in specifics and how, if you treat them as supportive of doing even more than the ACA (sucgh as a full public option or even single payer) and remove them from the "opposed to the ACA for the same reason as GOPers/Teatrolls" category, it starts to look far worse for the GOP/Teatrolls. No no...gotta lump them in inappropriately so the GOP/Teatrolls can cite essentially falsified statistics the bolster the controversy the MSM is using to sell advertising.

    March 26, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. d

    It does not go far enough! that being said...i am still for it. since not everyone gets all they want compromise is the key. that is what was done. the mandate is not enforceable in any case so why worry about it?

    March 26, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  24. Hangtownie

    Medical care has become a luxery. Hopefully this law can help that.

    March 26, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "I didn't make the rule that says I have to treat someone – if you can pay great if you can't – good luck!"

    Don't worry. It's just a matter of time before your beloved fellow conservative ideologues start arguing that we should repeal ERISA and EMTAALA. My guess is that they'll focus it on something completely ridiculous like "all teh immigrants is going to our ERs and that's the whole reason healfcares costs is rizing!!!!" THAT is going to be some seriously delicious fun for us liberals.

    March 26, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
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