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

    Another meaningless poll. Dandy Don said it best: If "ifs" and "buts" were candy and nuts, we'd all have a merry Christmas.

    I guess it does give all of the Obama bashers another way to forget that Obama won the election.

    November 19, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  2. Michael, Chapel Hill

    Even in the Ken Burns film, Obama omitted, "under God," line. It reveals another one of his lie as a Christian which he reiterated during the last election.

    November 19, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. Colby

    So what ?! Most presidents have issues in their 2nd terms... but at least they got to a second term. This too will pass for the president. So before all these haters jump on board, they may want to look back into history first.

    November 19, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. jamie

    You can say that again.

    November 19, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  5. BottomLine

    Over 90% of Americans had healthcare they were reasonably happy with. The Affordable Care Act should have been written to address those 10% but, instead it is a classic over reach by the Feds.

    November 19, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  6. Boo

    Who cares? Obama's president (thankfully) instead of Romney.

    November 19, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  7. Emigdio

    @tom. do you think we've forgotten about last month's government shutdown?

    November 19, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "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


    That poll shows that 77% of voters either are more likely to vote for the candidate due to his/her lack of support for the ACA OR won't base their decision on whether the candidate supported the ACA


    61 is not as big as 77. And 77 is a very big number."
    You provide zero rationale or rebuttal to the argument I made as to why the 40% portion favors Dems, which is how I supported the argument that the 61% option is the appropriate one. Instead, you merely engaged in superficial math as if that's an actual analysis and argument. Hint: it's not.

    As for discounting polling places that had Mittens ahead prior to the election, I certainly can make that argument here, particularly because CNN is literally trying to make an argument that ABC/WaPo's poll somehow indicates Mittens would be ahead now or would have won back in November etc. etc. Admittedly, it's somewhat less directly related when the subject matter of the poll and the analysis are different, but here the subject matter is similar and the analysis is attempting to argue the exact same thing, which is to say, "Mittens in a landslide!" We saw that movie already.

    November 19, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  9. kelly

    trouble, yes maybe he would be reelected again 😉 haha, lame. who cares. if i were O i'd be dancing around laughing at house republicans.

    November 19, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. Reggie

    The fact that after so many "man made disasters" it is still only "Romney would hold a slight lead in the popular vote." is what is wrong with half of the American people still enamored with this rogue president...I guess the prover that says each nation deserves its leaders proves to be correct

    November 19, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. Name

    What a shame, I was starting to like Mary Landrieu. Bye bye.

    November 19, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  12. Tony

    This poll is completely useless. Only a time traveler can go back in time. This reminds me. The Day of the Doctor is coming!

    November 19, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  13. Fish

    We need an investigation into our higher education system when we have to deal with back-to-back village idiots as president and both are Harvard graduates!!! What does it take to get a Harvard degree waving a bingo card??? I am truly concerned as my daughter is attending Harvard at present and am worried about her being able to find her way home!!!

    November 19, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. Sniffit

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

    You'll have to wait until Obama or the Dems suggest something first, so the GOP/Teatrolls can let everyone know that's precisely what they DON'T want. Eventually, a few centuries from now, we'll supposed have whittled it down by process of elimination to figuring out what they actually DO support. Such is the problem when an entire segment of a democracy is nothing but a radicalized mess of ideological reactionaries.

    November 19, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  15. Abbey

    Well if lie, go ahead and tell a big one. Thanks to those Americans with low information syndrome out there.

    November 19, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  16. current state of the union

    Insurance companies are only here to help, its just luck they make billions doing it. The Koch brothers are trying to protect you, they would never lie to you, or tell you who to vote for, so when they pump tens if millions into attacking the aca, its you their thinking of, and are fighting for, see how silly that sounds? This ain't rocket science folks

    November 19, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  17. DJ


    Obama just proved to be a better liar than Romney. That fact is becoming more evident with each passing day.

    November 19, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. health

    I'd rather have him lying than have Romney in the white house. What a disaster that would have been.

    November 19, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  19. Abbey

    The progressive hillbillies would rather have a liar like Obama then have to face someone like Romney.

    November 19, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. doug

    Trouble? Really? Why? He won't be re-elected? The only trouble I see is not being able to get rid of enough Republicans in enough places to finally implement the demise of the GOP as a national party. It's really just a local trouble maker with Gerrymandering powers and the filibuster. Once we get rid of the filibuster and destroy them in the House, we will grow the economy, deal with income disparity, and finally put regulations on the large banks and Wall Street, which are destroying our economy and our democracy.

    November 19, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  21. Abbey

    Thanks to the ACA, the hillbilly agenda is dead for good.

    November 19, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  22. smith

    Well the angry left is out spewing its typical fodder. The trend of 2nd term blunders has happend to the last 2 potus before obama. This is nothing new. Sadly, there those who are in such denial that resort to conspriacy theoreis, bigotry, and reverse racism.

    November 19, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  23. Ron

    An old rancher was in his doctors office for his annual physical.

    They struck up a conversation that eventually became political, and Obama became the focus.

    The old rancher said, 'Well, ya know, Obama is a "Post Turtle".

    Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him, what a 'post turtle' was.

    The old rancher said, "When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a 'post turtle'."

    The old rancher saw the puzzled look on the doctor's face so he continued to explain....

    "You know he didn't get up there by himself, he doesn't belong up there, he doesn't know what to do while he's up there, he's elevated beyond his ability to function, and you just wonder what kind of dumb a*s*s*e*s put him up there to begin with."

    Best explanation I've heard yet.

    November 19, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  24. cmml

    What's most amazing to me is that 36% of Americans are happy to very happy with the rollout of Obamacare.

    November 19, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  25. MiNiMaTiC

    Everybody is OK with the "Death Panel" lie though? Last time I checked the ACA was in effect and I have yet to see any proof of the "Death Panel" lie.

    November 19, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
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