Poll suggests Obamacare could have cost Obama second term
November 19th, 2013
12:52 PM ET
12 months ago

Poll suggests Obamacare could have cost Obama second term

Updated 11/19/2013 at 1:33 p.m. ET

Washington (CNN) - If you need any more evidence that the disastrous roll out of the new health care law is taking a toll on President Barack Obama's plunging approval ratings, a new survey provides the proof.

And an ABC News/Washington Post poll also suggests that if the 2012 presidential election between the President and GOP challenger Mitt Romney were held today, Romney would hold a slight lead in the popular vote.

Obama's approval rating stands at 42% in the survey, which was released early Tuesday. That's down six percentage points from a month ago and ties an all-time low for Obama in ABC News/Washington Post polling. And the President's disapproval rating among Americans stands at 55%, up six points from mid-October and an all-time high in ABC News/Washington Post surveys.

Obama's approval rating has now reached new lows or tied his historic lows in polls released over the past three weeks from ABC News/Washington Post, Quinnipiac University, National Journal Heartland Monitor, and NBC News/Wall Street Journal. And his numbers are nearing where his predecessor, George W. Bush, stood at this time in his second term.

A CNN Poll of Polls, compiled and released Tuesday, that averages the six most recent non-partisan live operator national surveys on the President's approval rating puts Obama's approval at 40% and his disapproval at 54%.

"Approval ratings for Obama and George W. Bush have followed the same pattern in their second terms for completely different reasons. For Bush, a natural disaster and an unpopular war were the primary reasons why his approval rating dropped to 41% in October 2005 and to 37% in November of that year," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.

Support for Obamacare drops

The flawed startup of HealthCare.gov and the controversy over millions of Americans being told they will lose their current insurance plans because they don't meet the new law's requirements is fueling a drop in support for the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Just four in 10 questioned in the ABC News/Washington Post poll say they approve of the new health care law and 57% oppose it. A month ago support stood at 46% with 49% opposed.

And disapproval of how Obama handled the health care law's implementation has also surged, from 53% last month to 63% now. Only a third of the public gives Obama a thumbs-up on how he's handled the roll out of the law.

More than seven in 10 say the problems with the health care website are serious enough that the government should delay the requirement that all individuals have health insurance or face fines. And the public's divided on whether the government can recover from the massive problems implementing the new law or that the problems are a sign the measure is unworkable.

Would Romney win?

What if the 2012 presidential election were held today instead of just over a year ago. Forty-seven percent of people questioned in the poll say that they would vote for Obama, with an equal amount saying they would cast a ballot for Romney. Among the narrower pool of registered voters, Romney has a slight 49%-45% edge.

The President topped Romney 51%-47% last November to win a second term in the White House.
The poll doesn't mean that Romney would win if the election were held today, of course - the race for the White House is not a battle for the popular vote, but rather a contest for the states and their electoral votes.

Obama taking a personal hit

When it comes to his polling, the president's personal numbers have always been his saving grace, but a number of controversies this year, from the NSA to the IRS, compounded by the health care woes, are wearing away at Obama's standing.

For the first time in ABC News/Washington Post polling, a slight majority (52%) have an unfavorable view of the President. He's also underwater when it comes to his favorability in a couple of other new polls. That's a big change from the beginning of the year, when his favorable ratings were hovering at or near 60% in some surveys.

"There's been times where I thought we were slapped around a little bit unjustly - this one is deserved," Obama said Thursday during a news conference on the health care woes.

And he acknowledged his personal attributes have taken a hit, saying, "I think it's legitimate for them to expect for me to have to win back some credibility on this health care law in particular and on a whole range of these issues in general."

Fifty-percent of those questioned in the ABC News/Washington Post poll say the President isn't honest and trustworthy, similar to findings in last week's Quinnipiac survey. And he's also underwater when it comes to leadership and empathy.

And in another sign of how Obamacare's hurting Obama's poll numbers,only 41% say they consider the President a good manager.

One of the few silver linings in the survey: On the "you can keep your plan" controversy, people were asked whether they thought that the President told the public what he believed to be true or that he intentionally misled. By 52%-44%, Americans say they think Obama told people what he thought was correct at the time.

Indicators for 2014

Next November all 435 seats in the House and more than a third of the Senate are up for grabs. The Democrats currently hold a 55-45 advantage in the Senate and the GOP holds a 17-seat advantage in the House.

The president last week acknowledged that the health care roll out could hurt his party at the ballot box in 2014, saying, "There is no doubt that our failure to roll out the ACA smoothly has put a burden on Democrats, whether they are running or not."

And the poll agrees. Thirty-seven percent say a candidate's support for the health care law would make them less likely to back that candidate, with 21% saying they'd be more likely to support that candidate. Four in 10 said it wouldn't matter.

The poll's release comes four days after 39 House Democrats broke party ranks and voted for a GOP bill that would alter the health care law, another sign of the concerns of some in the President's party who could face challenging re-elections next year.

And for only the second time in ABC/Washington Post polling, the public's divided on whether Obama's views on most issues are too liberal or just right. The last time that Americans felt that was was two months before the 2010 midterm elections, when the GOP made an historic 63-seat pickup in the House to reclaim control of the chamber.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Obamacare • President Obama
soundoff (223 Responses)
  1. A True Conservative

    Oh.....so he had to lie in order to win....the end justifies the means....so everything is good.....

    November 19, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. Fair is Fair

    Elections have consequences.

    November 19, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  3. Denise

    Weren't these the same polls that gave us President Romney? Polls also show that the talking heads who like to hear themselves talk need to move on. I would be curious to know what Obama also ate for breakfast this past month......

    November 19, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  4. just saying

    lies and bribes got obamacare passed. the compliance of the msm in the massive fraud helped it. lies and the help of the msm got obama re-elected. another massive fraud on the american people.

    and just wait until tens of millions start losing their employer based healthcare plans. estimates run from 30 million to over 100 million will get cancelled or droppped. obama may well spend the next three years as a reviled lying lame duck. it would be better for the country if he were to simply step aside.

    November 19, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  5. NameLindaHardge

    Republicans have yet to get over the fact that President Obama won a second term. He outsmarted the average white male in America. The polls include how many minorities? By the way if America did not call for George Bush to resign after the public found out there were no weapons of mass destruction why should President Obama resign? Maybe its because he is Black and attacks on him are all about hypocritical bigots in this country and most are Republicans and Tea Party members. They care only about keeping their pocketbooks fat. They could care less about working Americans living from day to day. Your polls are flawed and serve one purpose only and that is to reveal what White America thinks of the President. Minorities see thru it all!

    November 19, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  6. bill

    say it aint so. just because he lied a few times and he is the worst pres. in history, there should be enough kool aid drinkers out there to keep his numbers up. if not blame it on –=–= insert excuse.

    November 19, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. freedom

    That's right. He lied his way right into office. And used every card imaginable – war on wealth, war on women, and the card of all – race. Oprah's still out there crying race! She has lost her credibility as well. This has been the biggest fraud this country has ever seen. He's not smart – he's a snake.

    November 19, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "And the poll agrees. Thirty-seven percent say a candidate's support for the health care law would make them less likely to back that candidate, with 21% saying they'd be more likely to support that candidate. Four in 10 said it wouldn't matter."

    Not necessarily. That poll shows that 61% of voters either are more likely to vote for the candidate due to support for the ACA OR won't base their decision on whether the candidate supported the ACA, a wash that leaves the other issues Dems will talk about while the GOPer obsessively perseverates about the ACA, occasionally hanging himself with his Teatroll policy positions on issues like immigration reform, women's rights, education, minority issues, etc. While the GOPers/Teatrolls quixotically bark at the moon about nothing but the ACA....admittedly in part due to the "conventional wisdom" that poll numbers like this show it's a "#winning" issue for them....they're severely exposed on myriad other issues that the MSM and pollsters aren't really paying any attention to.

    November 19, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    What an absurd, broken logic premise for an article. Shall we go back to looking at the ABC/WaPo polling PRIOR to the election that also showed Mittens "ahead" and "likely to win"? They came in 18h of 23 for accuracy based on the math. But that's ok...President Mittens approves CNN's message.

    November 19, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. Bill from GA

    Obamacare seems to be as damaging to President Obama as the Iraq War was to Bush. And both seem to be the result of giving underlings too much authority with too little oversight. Initially, the majority of Americans wanted healthcare reform, and the repubs weren't offering anything.

    A big difference is that, with Bush and his unnecessary war (aside from the thousands of lives lost, and trillions of dollars wasted), the Dems gave him support, even with the staged pullout planned by Bush. With Obamacare, the opposition party has done nothing to make ACA a functioning system, and instead, done all they can to make it not work.

    They would just as soon see Americans with no protection from insurance companies that take your money for years, and when you need them, do as little as possible before canceling you when you expect help.

    November 19, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  11. Phyllis Gwendoline Williams

    "the Most High ruleth in the Kingdom of Men, and giveth it to whomsoever HE WILL" (Daniel 4: 17,25,32; 5: 21)

    November 19, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  12. Reggie53

    Obama gor re-elected with his lies. I am sure if the voters knew then what they know now, he would never have been voted back in office.

    November 19, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "Oh.....so he had to lie in order to win....the end justifies the means....so everything is good....."

    If you can't understand the difference between "what if he never said that" and "he said that and a lot of people now consider it a lie"...such that you comprehend that the latter is a far worse situation than the former and far more likely to create polling results that would indicate an influence over the election, then you need help.

    November 19, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  14. Hector Slagg

    Beware of Greeks bearing gifts. Beware of Liberal's promising you the moon. Some people are so easy! Some people know the truth and ignore it!

    November 19, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  15. truth hurts but reality bites

    Obama and Obamacare is going to be the death knell for the Deomcrat Party. You simply cannot screw over and lie to every single American and pay no price for it at the polls. Democrats made a massive, massive mistake in jamming this law down our throat. Far more Amerians support its repeal than support the law.

    It is time for democracy to work and that means a lot of Democrats will have to go in 2014. Enough to give the Republicans a super majority in order to override any Obama veto of the repeal of Obamacare. Americans now know they were conned by Obama, Obamacare and the Democrats and they need to correct that at the ballot box in 2014.

    November 19, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  16. Joan

    There are some statistics that are not reported. For years the health care companies have been terminating policies, especially at this time of year. Reasons are many but often because of monetary limits, pre-existing conditions, getting a serious illness etc. How many people have had their policies terminated each year over the last five years? Many big companies may be doing it this year using the ACA as the scapegoat. They are still looking at their bottom lines. It might be interesting to see if they are all really just because of the new plan. Lists of big health care companies not complying should be made public. Also, which states (mostly red) have not co-operated with the new law and have not expanded Medicaid, etc. which would help the people of their own states so much? Are they trying to sabotage the new bill? They wouldn't do that would they? NOT! These states should also be listed for all to see. So many in the media are comparing the ACA roll out to Katrina. Are they out of their minds? There is no comparison. They should all watch a rerun of Jon Stewart's intelligent analysis last night when he said it should be compared to the Medicaid rollout during the Bush administration. That makes more sense but of course the MSN won't do that because it isn't controversial enough and wouldn't please the Republican elite. This is all going to blow over, the web site will get fixed, neighbours will see that their friends have better plans than they do, more people will get covered and down the road the ACA will be viewed positively just like Medicare and Medicaid. It is all just so predictable.

    November 19, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Approval ratings for Obama and George W. Bush have followed the same pattern in their second terms for completely different reasons. ..... ...
    ----------------------
    If that's the case, then why is it that so many conservatives keep trying to create a false equivalence between the two?

    November 19, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  18. Tigas

    Fortunately for us, "You can keep your policy. Period."

    November 19, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  19. A True Conservative

    @LindaHardge – you can put the race card down now....that card isn't part of the deck.....and we are bored with its use. If we are al so driven by race, why is it the left that keeps bringing it up? The truth is that this man has turned out to be disconnected and incompetent....just as many of us predicted. If you are unable to see that it may explain why you seem to be so bitter about others doing better than you.

    November 19, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  20. Getoverit

    @NameLindaHardge
    Republicans have yet to get over the fact that President Obama won a second term. He outsmarted the average white male in America. The polls include how many minorities? By the way if America did not call for George Bush to resign after the public found out there were no weapons of mass destruction why should President Obama resign? Maybe its because he is Black and attacks on him are all about hypocritical bigots in this country and most are Republicans and Tea Party members. They care only about keeping their pocketbooks fat. They could care less about working Americans living from day to day. Your polls are flawed and serve one purpose only and that is to reveal what White America thinks of the President. Minorities see thru it all!
    --------
    Wow! Every single thing you said was completely wrong. The race card again? Yawn.... zzzzzz....

    November 19, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  21. Bill from GA

    NameLindaHardge "Your polls are flawed and serve one purpose only and that is to reveal what White America thinks of the President"

    I personally resent your bigoted, blatant racism.

    If there were a KKK for blacks, you would surely be welcome.

    November 19, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  22. Joe A

    Appears those 52% who thought O told what he thought to be true, will likely change now that we know that his own DOJ on Oct. 17 was telling a court a different version. Seems the adminsitration knew those with insurance through their employers will also be cancelled. So instead of maybe 10 million we're lookign at 100 mill. Talk about complete arrogance. say good bye to this man as he doesn't have an honest bone in his body or he's the most incompetent president ever!

    November 19, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. RomneyWho

    This is the dumbest poll in American history and a waste. Obama care (AcA) was at the forefront of his reelection along with the economy and guest what, he was reelected! Who are you people? Always stirring up crap! :(

    November 19, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. Jaimie

    It goes to show you that you cant fix stupid which is exactly what Obama is. He was NEVER qualified to be president and with his low integrity and morals you get the situation we have today. There should be an IQ test given to people before they can vote to avoid getting people like him into office.

    November 19, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  25. Wake up People!

    I couldn't agree more Linda Hardge. I've been saying the same thing for the past 5 years. Btw, there is no race card, that's just a term made up by non-minorities to keep us in our place and quiet.

    November 19, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
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