CNN Poll: Should health care law be overturned?
March 26th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
2 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:

Santorum: Romney 'worst Republican' to run against Obama

Ryan's open to V.P spot

Graham's 'comfortable' with Romney

Plouffe calls out GOP candidates over Obama reaction

soundoff (214 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    No one needs health insurance until they need health care. Maybe we should add a provision that allows people to opt out of being mandated to purchase health insurance, so that they when they really do need major health care they can be denied care because that was their wish.

    March 26, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. bmckay

    We Canadians LOVE our universal health care and we will defeat any government that tries to fuss with it. Your Obama Care should be funded by the government and NOT profit oriented insurance companies. Why is the U.S. the only developed country in the world without it?

    March 26, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  3. NothingNew

    So when Bush was setup as President by SCOTUS, was that polical or jurisprudence?

    March 26, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. Adam R

    RUDY. YOU ARTICULATED PERFECTLY the fallacy in the arguments from those opposed to the mandate. YOU CANNOT FORCE health insurers to cover preexisting conditions and then NOT force everyone to buy it. OTHERWISE, everyone who has any economic sense would just wait till their sick, then go get insurance AFTER they get sick. It would bankrupt insurance companies. Everyone has to buy in, then everyone is covered. Wake up america and use your brains, not what politicians and pundits tell you.

    March 26, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "That's wrong. The estimated costs over the first ten years have already doubled. "

    No they haven't. ThIs has been explained time and time again, but of course CNN and the MSM won't touch it because it is so convenient to just let the GOP/Teatrolls produce controversy by running around misrtepresenting what the CBO has said.

    The costs in the first study covered the initial ten years starting in 2010 AND covered the cost savings measures as well, producing a NET figure. The newest study only focused on costs, producing a GROSS figure for the decade starting in 2012. Because the spending in the ACA doesn't truly start until 2014, the first study had 4 years of very low spending and the second study only had 2. It's not the same decade, so it's not apples to apples. Moreover, the second stufdy didn't address all the cost saving and cutting measures in the ACA, so the numbers aren't even measuring the same thing. The GOP/Teatrolls spouting that it "doubled" are simply flat-out lying.

    March 26, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  6. BigRed

    The problem tends to be that we don't know who was polled, where, when, or how the questions were ordered or actually posed. Thus any poll is skewed almost immediately by the creator of that poll. Sadly.

    March 26, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. fu9l

    the sup court has violated our rights time and time again there worthless as a body to protect the constution they have all violated there oaths in responce to politics elections and friends are more important to them than the constution and our rights...

    March 26, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    The poll still shows that most people want to keep it, but just not be required to purchase health care. People like the idea that insurance companies have their own set of coverage mandates, but the insurers hate it.

    March 26, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. Jack Jack

    Why is a POLL actual news? Wow CNN. That's really fishing for a story. Clean it up, or the critical thinkers will keep tuning out.

    March 26, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  10. Christian Rogers

    A "new poll" is Breaking News CNN...?

    March 26, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  11. us1776

    Clearly, this is the most political Supreme Court ever.

    You've got people like Clarence Thomas who hangs a For Sale To Highest Bidder sign outside his office.

    You've got a Court that made the most stupid ruling of all time by saying that Corporations Are People.

    The whole court is Supreme Corporate Dominion Court.

    .

    March 26, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. Candy Taylor

    Breaking News! One out of three Americans believe health care law should be overturned! How about the MAJORITY does NOT want it overturned! God CNN are you trying to be Fox II? Can't spell headlines, scew statistics to make a sensational headline, put a couple of mindless giggling bimbos on your early morning show. What's next? The Rush Limbaugh Hour! Run Candy Crowley your the only sane one left!

    March 26, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  13. Qi

    It is a confirmed fact that 72% of all statistics are simply made up. You can look it up for yourself....

    March 26, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  14. Cindy

    How jaded are we Americans when fully half of us don't trust our Supreme Court to honor the law? Sad.

    March 26, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Wow, so now CNN is posting non-scientific polls as Breaking News, how the mighty have fallen, back to BBC.

    March 26, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  16. KobraKai7474

    We already know how the key members of this Supreme Court approach politically charged cases. Reread Bush v. Gore if you have forgotten. They WILL allow politics to trump the law and they won't apologize for it. Heck, Clarence Thomas' wife will continue to get rich from her fight against healtcare reform but don't hold your breath waiting for ol' Clarence to recuse himself. He will sit like a cipher as he always does, ostensibly listening to arguments but really just waiting to sign anything Scalia and Roberts put in front of him.

    March 26, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  17. dreamer96

    Most civilized countries pay for the health care of all of their citizens, many by using a VAT tax, or value added tax...just think what a boost it would be to have everyone covered, and losing a job did not mean losing health care, or changing jobs did not mean getting less insurance coverage.. Companies would not have to worry about coverage for every employee..

    And besides that how is this new mandatory payment for health care that different form paying for the schools with our property taxes, all property owners pay that tax if they have children or not, and the renters pay a share with their rent payments, and the businesses pay too.. All for the greater good of the community..

    March 26, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  18. Sponge-Bob

    Regardless of the outcome by the court, we still need to go out in full force this fall and get Obama out of there.

    March 26, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  19. Richard

    We have 5 right wing republicnas on the court, but we've been fooled to believe that they are not biased. Corporations are people, and because the supreme court voted to allow them unbridled contributions we know where they stand. It's too bad the American people cannot grasp what the republicnas are trying to do.

    March 26, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  20. Cedar Rapids

    "Just as thought, VERY few actually want this!"

    only 37% disapprove because its too liberal, how does this equate to few actually wanting it?

    March 26, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  21. Republicangrandma

    This bill will cover and extend every American for their health care needs. It is including children under 26 years old. It is including everyone with preexisting condition. Only stupid American will not agree to every provision on this bill. What my own party do is demonize every single common sense this President do. They will even say "don't eat the donut because donut is made by synthetic sugar".

    I am Republican but not stupid!!

    Why would I say "No" for free medical coverage for me and my family? Why??

    March 26, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  22. J.Crobuzon

    FOX news is killing our democracy. Once they have enough people convinced that "the gubmint" is attacking them, we'll fall apart. It would have been easier to just let Rupert Murdock have that monopoly all those years ago; he said we'd regret it and he'd own us, now he does.

    March 26, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  23. Sarah

    These judges are bought and paid for. They'll pass the law.

    March 26, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  24. MikeyZ

    Let me make sure I heard this right:

    CNN supposes the presidential election results would be unaffected by the ruling, on the basis that 75% of respondents said the ruling was unlikely to change their vote. Yet the expectation that this election is going to be close in popular vote (55 / 45, more likely than not to favor Obama), this projection should be cause for grave concern by, well, anyone who is smarter than the CNN political unit anyway.

    March 26, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  25. rosie

    No one needs car insurance until they have a wreck. Your point is stupid, Rudy NYC.

    March 26, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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