Obamacare is unpopular.
“The more the American people have learned about this law, the less they’ve liked it.” – Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
Obamacare is not a wildly popular law and negative views outstrip favorable ones. That’s a fact. But the isn’t wildly unpopular either. And Americans who oppose it do so for wildly different reasons.
According to a CNN / ORC poll, 43 percent of Americans favor the law. With less than majority support, that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement. But Americans who oppose the law are split. Thirty-five percent of people who oppose the law felt that it was too liberal. Sixteen percent thought it actually wasn’t liberal enough. As for whether opposition has grown, that isn’t borne out by the facts.
In March of 2010, according to a CBS / New York Times poll , thirteen percent of Americans strongly approved of the law. A much larger portion, 33 percent, strongly disapproved of it. Twenty-four percent somewhat approved and 15 percent somewhat disapproved.
Fast forward three and a half years to this month and not much has changed.
According to the same poll, now 17 percent of Americans strongly approve of the law. That’s a slight but probably statistically insignificant jump in strong support. Strong disapproval went from 33 percent in 2010 to 34 percent this month. Twenty-two percent now strongly disapprove (a statistically insignificant rise of two percentage points) and seventeen percent somewhat disapprove (again, two percentage points). Fifteen percent had no opinion in 2010 and ten percent still have no opinion today.
Other polls have showed a wider swing. Forty-one percent had a favorable view of the law in a May 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation poll. That’s down to 37 percent in August of 2013. Opposition, however, grew less – from 40 percent in April of 2010 to 42 percent in August. The number that has grown the most in the Kaiser poll – 14 percent in 2010 and 20 percent in August – who say they don’t know or are unsure about their opinion.
There has been a slight jump in the number of people who said the law would “hurt” rather than “help” them. In 2010, 20 percent of Americans in the CBS / NYT poll thought the law would “help” them and 38 percent thought it would “not have much effect” on them. Thirty-five percent thought the law would “hurt” them. Now 40 percent think the law will hurt them, 18 percent expect it to “help” and 40 percent don’t expect much of an effect to their personal situation.
True, but misleading. It is absolutely accurate to say the law is unpopular, at least according to current opinion polls. But disapproval is for a variety of reasons and not always the ones opponents say it is. Also disapproval has not markedly grown in the three years the law has been in effect. What’s more, a lot of Americans still don’t know a lot about the law. In that same CBS / New York Times poll, 52 percent of Americans said they knew “some” about the law. And 26 percent knew not much or nothing at all.