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. sly

    I don't understand what sort of Americans want to lock 50 MILLION war veterans and others with pre-existing conditions out of Health Care.

    The rest of us are allowed to have health care. 50 million are prohibited by Big Insurance.

    Who doesn't want affordable health care (besides the TeaBillieKKK haters ... but we know where they are coming from).

    November 19, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  2. Hawkeye07

    Owhinney is his own worst enemy. He had the opportunity to be one of the greatest Presidents by being a unifier – instead he is the quintessential divider and liar – what a shame.

    November 19, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  3. NorCalMojo

    It's downhill from here. The problems with Obamacare are just beginning to surface.

    What a mess.

    November 19, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  4. tom

    I love watching the liberals defend this incompetent liar. Say goodbye to the Senate next year. And say goodbye to the White House in 2016. And then we can repeal Obamacare.

    November 19, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  5. TomGI

    Obama has become a lame duck. He should stop giving a speech per day, forget an 'agenda' and just cruise to the finish line.

    November 19, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  6. Tom

    He already won the election. Get over it. There is not going to be a third term, so save your hate for the next candidate.

    November 19, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Really surprised his rating is that high? I haven't found a person yet that ever approved of him.

    November 19, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  8. Data Driven

    A True Conservative,

    "Wake Up People – yes there is a race card – unfortunately it's used by the masters to keep minorities in their place. Too bad the minorities see the wrong people as their masters.........and ignore or denigrate those who would actually set them free......"

    I'm assuming you're African-American and thus can speak authoritatively on this topic.

    If not, take this white man's advice and assume you know NOTHING about what it means to be Black in this country, and spare us your ill-informed opinions.

    November 19, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  9. betterdays

    When you ask a person to cough up ten dollars to help someone who's down on his luck, they'll usually do it. When you legislate them into coughing up an extra $200+ per month, every month, in perpetuity, to help offset the cost of health care for millions of other people, yeah, you might get a little backlash.

    November 19, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  10. willg

    This article is pointless b/c guess what...HE DID WIN RE-ELECTION soooooo what's the point? LOL

    November 19, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  11. ImvotingforHillary

    I'm still waiting to hear the GOP's great fix to healthcare and jobs.

    November 19, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. Tony

    Romney supported the individual mandate too. Romney wrote a 2009 USA Today op-ed touting Romneycare, which requires Massachusetts residents to buy insurance, as a model for the nation. Obamacare does the same thing as Romneycare. So if requiring people to buy insurance is toxic, Romney would have lost anyway.

    Just think about it, Republicans. Your guy, Romney, was not good enough to beat Obama. And he was the best candidate you had.

    November 19, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  13. GSMITH

    Obama, the worst human being ever to become President. All those who voted for this disgusting person you are getting what you deserved.

    November 19, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  14. Data Driven

    @Dan Gordon,

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

    I know; reminds me of last decade when those of us who criticized that epic idiot Bush were denounced as a Fifth Column in league with al-Qaida.

    Meantime, shall I call the whaaambulance for you?

    November 19, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  15. Getoverit


    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.
    Probably better that way. The Gettysburg address was significant in American history. All Obama has is "If you like your plan, you can keep it. Period". Doesn't quite stand up.

    November 19, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  16. anonymous

    But how will Obama and the Democrats address all of their OTHER lies?

    If you want to keep your doctor, you can keep your doctor, PERIOD.

    You will pay $2500 LESS per year for your healthcare plan.

    It will cost $900 billion. (Try $2-3 TRILLION and climbing!)

    Taxes will not be raised on the middle class. (21 new taxes in Obamacare!)

    And there is that pesky $715 billion that was cut from Medicare to pay for Obamacare and all of the seniors that will be losing their Advantage policies.

    How about addressing all of THESE LIES as well????

    November 19, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  17. willg

    The sad part about this is that folks love to jump over President Obama for the ACA and scream this and that..yet they are the main ones benefiting from the Law. He won his re-election and the Democrats will keep the senate, and trust there will be a shakeup in Washington. The TEABAGGERS are killing the Republican party, which will make it tougher for a Republican to take the WH..not to mention..With people like Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz leading the Tea Party, they will shoot themselves in the foot in 2014..They will throw Chris Christie under the bus and try their best to undermine him. Sorry Republician supports but the White House will remain in the hands of a Democrat thanks to the TEA PARTY!

    November 19, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  18. Burt Ward

    Slumdambo at his best. More to come in 2016 when the next moron of the day is elected by 73,000,000 Democrats. In that huge voting bloc are every single seection-8, PANF, SSI, AFDC, and Medicaid recipient on Earth. No Republican will ever be president going forward for the rest of the history of the U.S.A. So look for things to get much worse. I just need things to stay up enough for me to retire to Europe. Then I'll transfer my retirement account to a European bank. Then I'll tell social security to send my SS payment to a lock box transfer account. O course I'll plan for it to be bankrupt and not depend on it. Then I'll laugh at all your rubes languishing in deep depression never seen in the USA since 1776.

    November 19, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  19. MICK

    Nothing to do with a second term... OBAMA HAS BEEN LYING ABOUT THIS SINCE 2009!!!

    November 19, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  20. julnor

    Who are these 42%?

    November 19, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  21. KP

    And that's why the individual and corporate mandates were not being implemented until this year. Come on President Obama couldn't take a chance at blowing up a re-election by launching his signature piece early. CNN themselves discussed this over the past few years.

    November 19, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  22. LogicalOne

    Well, well, well. I have to say that Obama is proving to be a very disappointing president. No transparency, no bi-partisanship, and – which is why I didn't vote for him – his lack of experience in a leadership position shows. It is not costing Obama as much as it is costing the Dems and this country.

    November 19, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  23. shorething

    Couldn't pay me any amount of money to ever view Obama has a good leader. In fact you could'nt pay me to even respect him as a human being let alone a leader of the United States. Obama has proved he is ineffective as a leader and completly out of touch with the citizens of this country.

    November 19, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  24. Dave

    Why do you think he lied about Obamacare for years. If he had told the truth he would not have won a second term. Now we all have to live with the consequences of the lie.

    November 19, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  25. betterdays

    "He already won the election." Yes, he did... and I don't recall Democrats keeping their mouths shut during the last three years of George Bush's presidency. We are going to speak out about every ill-conceived move our current president makes, and guess what: The press is finally joining in now too. So you can high-five yourselves for the next three years about how crafty, clever and slick Barack Obama is, but those of us who will end up paying for his bright ideas are not going to keep quiet in the meantime.

    November 19, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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