Poll suggests Obamacare could have cost Obama second term
November 19th, 2013
12:52 PM ET
5 years 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. cgattman

    Today is the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.

    President Obama had time to attend a college basketball game this week in which his brother-in-law is the coach (Go Beavers!), but, he didn't have time to go to Gettysburg to help commemorate the most important Presidential address in American history.

    The idea that he chose basketball over Lincoln's Gettysburg Address sounds like some sort of twisted socio-racial joke, but, here we are.

    November 19, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  2. truth hurts but reality bites

    Obama couldn't have done it without people like debate moderator Candy Crowley taking Obama's side when he was dead wrong in the second debate. Obama was lying about Benghazi, just as he has lied about Obamacare, and the MSM carried his water for him.

    Just as shocking as the massive fraud Obama and the Democrats have perpetrated on this nation, is the massive sheeplike compliance at every step of the way by the MSM. No independent verification of claims, no digging, just repeating the Obama campaign materials word for word.

    November 19, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. Dan Gordon

    Funny how any bad news about President Obama automatically makes everyone else a bigot.

    November 19, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. hubert39

    I tell my Republican friends if they don't like Obama, then don't vote for him again in 2016. Guess what they say??
    They won't! : (

    November 19, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. Sam Wilson

    As a liberal democratic, I do not care that Obama and the other Democratics with the help of the MSM lied to us as a way to win elections, pass laws or establishing more job killing policies because I only care about more free stuff from those silly people who worked hard and smartly to earn the money to pay for more free stuff for me. I will continue to try and vote myself more free stuff by trying to elect more liberals. I am willing to make up any sort of excuse or lie if I can get more free government charity. It does not matter that I am just fine both mentally and physically, I just want to be taken care of so I do not have to work so hard or smartly. That would be asking too much of me. I want the 1% to pay my fair share for me.

    November 19, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. Faux Scandals

    Romney got rich stealing jobs, Obama is trying to provide people decent healthcare, no regrets.

    November 19, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. Fred

    George W's rating was 36% when he left office and now he's being considered for sainthood.

    November 19, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  8. Polly

    With a two party system, it comes down to the lesser of two evil. I will not vote for a Republican no matter how much I hate Obamacare.

    November 19, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. hubert39

    If the GOP had not hacked the ACA web site their would be no problem. If the Obama administration had not hired a pro GOP firm we would have this problem. When the doctors, insurance, and drug companies become involved in the ACA every thing went to hell.

    November 19, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Wilson wrote:

    "If that's the case, then why is it that so many conservatives keep trying to create a false equivalence between the two?"

    I thought it was always the liberals that make the comparison between the two. Using Bush's failings to justify Obama's? Or to excuse Obama by saying Bush was worse?
    You, have thought wrong. Bush was indeed the worse President in modern history. Dubya has the dubious distinction of being the only POTUS to start a war, and not raise taxes to pay for it. He cut taxes. And then doubled down on the error by starting a second war and yet another massive tax cut.

    November 19, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. John

    Obama needs to be impeached Period. If you don't like your President you should not have to keep him. lol

    November 19, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. mike

    Obama has hit a new low of 42% approval rating and that's not really the true number as black Americans still overwhelmingly approve of the job he's doing, at the rate of 75%. So if you adjusted for the radical number by black Americans, his true approval rating falls to somewhere around 34%. And, yes, you would have to adjust, because black America still dotes on the color of his skin and not the job he is doing.

    November 19, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. Wes


    Not worried. He'll come back. Time heals all wounds. He's still got over 3 years of presidency to go.
    God help us. Those three years will seem like an eternity.

    November 19, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  14. johnny _m_mustard

    He's a poll cat either way.

    November 19, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  15. ObamaDUNG.gov

    Obama has been lying to the American people since he began running for the office of President. He has decieved the entire country about exactly who he is and what he stands for. Some of us were never fooled and conned as we had seen this con game run many times before. But for many of the young and naive, which is where Obama always went for his campaign stops, well, they were easy marks for this snake oil salesman masquerading as a leader.

    Look back at the long, long trail of lies concerning all of his administrations scandals. Obamacare was just the biggest and most blatant lie Obama and the Democrats told. And all of it easily concealed becuase any attack or questioning was easily dismissed as an attack by obvious racists.

    November 19, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  16. Archer

    coulda woulda shoulda. He is the President but this definitely is a wet blanket on the second term. Anything he brings to the table now will be met with skepticism. If we are lucky maybe our representatives can work together for the better of the country but from the look of it that may be an uphill climb on both sides. Some very smart people have said gridlock is good but its become too combative.

    November 19, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  17. Professor Trollworth

    If you think people hate the ACA now, just wait until it is fully in effect...

    November 19, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  18. southerngent

    obamacare was not designed to benefit anyone but instead was a (hurry up while we still have the numbers) payback for the failed attempt during the Clinton years and a way to insure Obamas reelection. As the ( you owe me ) population grows so does the liberal base, and the loss of our freedoms. If this sounds racist then so be it. If obama was any kind of a real MAN he would stand before our country and ask congress to repeal obamacare, ask the insurance companies to restore all policies canceled because of obamacare, with the same rates they were at cancelation, apologize for damage he has done to American freedom, immediately resign, and implore with VP Biden to not blindly follow the democrats agenda but rather listen to the hearts of all Americans.

    November 19, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  19. Two Stray Dogs

    I do wish he'd pulled this stunt prior to his re-election.

    November 19, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  20. Scott

    Do his approval ratings really matter? Does anything really matter? Seriously, during the shutdown, Republicans were at an all time low. Now, Obama's at an all time low. Next month, someone else will be at an all time low. When the 2016 election ads run there will be two primary adds: 1) detailing the Republicans shutdown of the government and 2) detailing the bad Obamacare rollout! Oh, wait, there'll be a third: whatever idiotic thing one of the Parties did in the meantime. The #s right now aren't going to matter in 2 years time.

    November 19, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  21. Gabbo

    OWEbama = incompetent

    November 19, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. ObjectiveGuy

    @hubert39: I knew it was just a matter of time. It's a little hard even for Obama to pin this mess on Bush, but of course, it must be the GOP website developer (hired by the Obama administration) of the GOP website hackers (just announced here by hubert39, and by no one else). Dems, do us all a favor, and grab some bench time. Let those of us who are actually in touch with reality (a.k.a. Republicans) have some time to step in and fix the preponderance of messes in which we are currently embroiled thanks to airheaded, liberal Dems.

    November 19, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  23. dnokc

    W.C. Fields was right "There is a sucker born every minute"!

    November 19, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  24. Miller

    second terms are like curses –

    November 19, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. ObamaDUNG.gov

    If the GOP had not hacked the ACA web site their would be no problem. If the Obama administration had not hired a pro GOP firm we would have this problem. When the doctors, insurance, and drug companies become involved in the ACA every thing went to hell.

    Koolaide overdose.... A total disconnect with reality. The perfect Obama supporter.

    November 19, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
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