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. George

    If Obama care passes what happens to medicare and medicaid,Is it no longer and if so what happens to all the money people have paid . And are not yet on medicare or medicaid?

    March 26, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  2. Mom to 3

    The polling on the Affordable Care Act is actually mixed. If you ask people if they like the law without being specific, you will get a majority sayiing they do not, but for different reasons. If you ask people if they like the specific provisions of the law, they overwhelmingly like them. So, it seems to show that way too many people do not understand what is actually in the Affordable Care Act. Children can stay on their parents' health plans until age 26, insurance companies cannot refuse to insure children based on pre-existing conditions, and insurance companies cannot deny you coverage when you get sick because there was a typo or small mistake on your insurance application. These are all very popular. States will develop insurance exchanges which will provide a place for consumers to go to compare health plans and find coverage. This was actually a Republican idea supported by Republicans until President Obama said he agreed with it, then all the Republicans suddenly turned against it. Everyone needs to have insurance and if you cannot afford insurance the government will provide a subsidy to make it affordable for you. 30 million people currently without insurance would be able to attain health insurance. Who DOESN'T want health insurance anyway? Plus, we ALL end up paying for those who don't have it because eventually they all end up using the healthcare system. It all makes sense and this court challenge is more about how much the Republicans hate President Obama and how much they want him to fail than it is about the healthcare law which provides much needed reforms to our system which is not working the way it is.

    March 26, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  3. ScratchAndSniff

    We should let speculators bet on health care and watch it rise like gas prices.

    March 26, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  4. altondrew

    Most Americans don't anything about this law or law in general, so a poll saying that most Americans don't believe that the court will apply the law with objectivity doesn't mean much.

    March 26, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "My health insurance cost doubled since the bill passed and they claimed it was because of the bill. Co-pays have tripled."

    Of course they claimed that. Only problem is that the vast vast majority of the bill doesn't take effect until 2014, so they're full of sh-t and trying to influence your votes by raping your wallets.

    March 26, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  6. MikeFrye

    So – you started the day telling us that 75% of us want to make sure Justice gets done, but more than half of us don't trust the system......Way to go......keep chumming the water....we'll be attacking each other soon!

    March 26, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  7. joe

    After the 2000 election and the more recent "corporations are people" snafu, there is no reason to believe that the court will decide this on the merits. The republicans on the court have already made up their minds to sabotage Obama in June with their rejection of the law.

    March 26, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  8. Hugganoak

    What is a fact is the opposition to the healthcare legislation spent $200 million telling people why it was bad, but only about 1/4 that was spend supporting it. Previous research has shown that the public was largely in favor of some type of health care plan that would cover most people. The people that now want to repeal aren't against the Obama healthcare plan, they are against the LIES that the Republicans told them it was.

    March 26, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  9. rickwh

    Of course these justices favor politics over law – that is why I predict that it will be a 5-4 ruling against the health care law.

    March 26, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  10. musician

    There are several reasons why this court will go down in history as the most partisan court ever. Scalia, Alito, Kennedy, Thomas and Roberts are diehard conservative ideologues. That`s the very reason they were appointed...... by other diehard conservative ideologues. It`s an ideology that seems to spread like a bad rash into religion, science, history books and now, the Supreme Court. It`s a sad, sad curse on America that will eventually fade away. I just the the country can survive it.

    March 26, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. Mom to 3

    Too many people do not understand what is actually in the Affordable Care Act. Children can stay on their parents' health plans until age 26, insurance companies cannot refuse to insure children based on pre-existing conditions, and insurance companies cannot deny you coverage when you get sick because there was a typo or small mistake on your insurance application. These are all very popular. States will develop insurance exchanges which will provide a place for consumers to go to compare health plans and find coverage. This was actually a Republican idea supported by Republicans until President Obama said he agreed with it, then all the Republicans suddenly turned against it. Everyone needs to have insurance and if you cannot afford insurance the government will provide a subsidy to make it affordable for you. 30 million people currently without insurance would be able to attain health insurance. Who DOESN'T want health insurance anyway? Plus, we ALL end up paying for those who don't have it because eventually they all end up using the healthcare system and raise the costs for everybody else. It all makes sense and this court challenge is more about how much the Republicans hate President Obama and how much they want him to fail than it is about the healthcare law which provides much needed reforms to our system which is not working the way it is.

    March 26, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  12. Bob

    Funnily enough, given that a few justices seem to be in the pockets of big business, we might get Roberts siding with the health care mandate since it in theory means more money for insurers unless the GOP have promised to replace AHCA with insurance vouchers (which like all voucher programs proposed by the GOP are just ways to funnel more tax payer money to big business while giving the ignorant a sense of "choice').

    March 26, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  13. a disgrace

    end obama's failed presidency then repeal his ridiculous healthcare bill.....

    March 26, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  14. Irene Clark

    What a sad commentary on how Americans feel about The Supreme Court of the land. I still have to hope that there is Dignity and Honor in the Justices and will until they prove me mistaken. I don't recall so many states suing the Federal Gov't

    March 26, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
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