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. greybeard

    A slight lead? That's it after all this mess in the news? I wouldn't feel too happy if I were the GOP. It takes all that has happened to get you a slim lead.

    November 19, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "Say goodbye to the Senate next year. And say goodbye to the White House in 2016. "

    Watching how crestfallen you guys are when the website's fixed and this thing gets rolling is going to be freekin sweet. Polls have gone bonkers over the last couple months...first with deep damage to the GOP due to their shutdown and now with a reversal of that damage bringing things back to even in the generic ballot with the ACA's rollout woes. They will remain just as volatile for the rest of the year, but the underlying data about particular districts and the issues important to voters won't. You may think this is somehow a long-lasting forever advantage, but it's not...just like the shutdown thing wasn't for Dems a year out. For all you know, the ACA website will be fixed and rolling along nicely by next March etc., in which case these poll numbers are going to shift again. Sure, you're counting on the GOP/Teatrolls doing anything they can think of to prevent any such success between now and then, but I'll tell ya what: if they think this is now evidence that another gov't shutdown and debt ceiling hostage game will work in their favor in the upcoming months, unlike last time, then please do encourage them to proceed. I'm all for it.

    November 19, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  3. Grooveman

    I can't believe his approval rating is as high as 42%.

    November 19, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. MTATL67

    OMG No budget deal, typhoon in Philippines, millions food stamps cut, no immigration bill and what could've been is news!

    November 19, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. The REAL Truth...

    @betterdays – 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.
    yawn... the right sounds like a stuck record.. rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat.. sigh.
    The right has attacked, blocked, filibustered and done ALL in their power to trash this POTUS. He's not worse than any other, and the constant bickering in DC is old.. real old!! Instead of the constant fingerpointing, contact your GOP rep in DC and tell them to get off their azz and STOP DESTROYING THE COUNTRY.. WE DON'T CARE THAT YOU HATE OBAMA.. he's here for the next 3 yrs.. GET OVER IT... MOVE THE COUNTRY FORWARD!!

    November 19, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. just asking

    seriously people.... do you think it is mere coincidence that all of obama's lies and deceit is now coming to light, after the election? it was all very carefully crafted this way. all of the obamacare freebies and goodies came before the 2012 election. the exposed lies and bad news after the election.

    he delayed the employer mandate because it was going to make what you are seeing now, 100 times worse. obama will likely delay it again next year to try and save the democrats in the 2014 election.

    obamacare is built on a massive foundation of lies and deceit and we are only just starting to see the tip of the iceberg that will sink our healthcare system.

    November 19, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  7. Eagle08432

    Lies upon lies, upon lies, upon lies. Obama is simply a liar. Libs, own it, embrace it!

    November 19, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "guess what: The press is finally joining in now too"

    LOL. Little late on the uptake aren't you? The MSM has been all over Obama and propping up the conservatives's deliberate radicalization of themselves, particularly the Teatrolls, since January 2009.

    November 19, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "Poll suggests Obamacare could have cost Obama second term"

    Ballots suggest Obamacare did not cost Obama second term.


    November 19, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  10. Darlene

    Just getting geared up for the next election and the liars applying. Are the Americans not tired of lying politicians?

    November 19, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  11. Jim

    How do you explain blatantly lying to 300 million Americans – repeatedly?
    How can you say more government is better when the majority see a healthcare apocalypse in our future?
    How do you say "I had no idea" every time a scandal hits your office?
    How do you get people to like you when your strategy is dividing a country and creating racism and hate?
    How does it look when your only legacy is extreme food stamps and making welfare a way of life?

    November 19, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. KDee

    I'm curious why the comments have been shut off on the " Woman cited by President as Obamacare success story frustrated by sign up process" article on CNN. The woman Obama held up a as a fine example of how the ACA is helping people is not enjoying her new options as reported.

    November 19, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. Sniffit

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

    To be fair, the majority of 'Murkins have the attention span of a gnat and hop on whatever nontroversy bandwagon the MSM is driving at any given moment, so yeah, people have "forgotten" in the sense that they're still mad about it as though it's happening right now. The same will be true about the current crop of nontroversy over the ACA when either a new and more salacious nontroversy presents itself or the ACA's website proves itself to be fixed and the enrollments start rolling in.

    November 19, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  14. Nate

    Who cares if Mitt would win? How is that even relevant? The big issue for Dems is if this slide continues people will associate Hillary or whomever is next with Obama just like people associated McCain with Bush. It will be time for another change. This also has seriously hurt the credibility of Washington. Their ability to handle even a simple website effectively is just another example of why expanding the government's control is not easy. They rarely get it right, and can't seem to manage even simple tasks without massive waste and issues. So Dems have kind of given some ammunition to their Republican counterparts whenever they try to do it again.

    November 19, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  15. NWO

    True Obama won't be getting a third term but the likely chances of having another democratic president in 2016 is quite low, the way this healthcare law is going.

    November 19, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  16. DaveinIL

    The emperor's new clothes are translucent and approaching transparent.

    November 19, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  17. Donna

    second terms are like curses –

    No. Lying, deceitful Presidents are like curses.

    November 19, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. Randy, San Francisco

    If the annoying kinks are resolved within the next couple of months, everything will be forgiven and forgotten. Voters have a very short memory with the exception of Republican Tea Partiers and conservative purists.

    November 19, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  19. my10cents

    If my grand-mother had wheels she would have been car. This entire article was a waste of electrons.

    November 19, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    anonymous wrote:

    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.
    What lies? Who's forcing you to change your doctor? Your insurance company.

    Rates vary widely from one state to the next. Curiously enough, it seems that the smaller and redder the states, the higher the rates. In some cases the gap is as wide as a factor of 2.

    The multi-trillion dollar figure is based upon sustained double digit unemployment rates.

    Not one of the "21 new taxes" are aimed at the middle class. Some are aimed at equipment vendors who are bound to see large increases in business.

    The GOTP Budget Wonk, Paul Ryan, used that same Medicare savings to fund tax cuts on capital gains. He's literally taking from the middle class, who contribute the most to the Medicare funds, and giving it almost exclusively to those wealthy enough to have investments that pay capital gains.

    Speaking of capital gains. If your company sells a durable good of some sort. You make a profit, When you pay yourself from the the profits it is called a salary. But, if you sell capital and you make a profit, then your salary is called capital gains, which is taxed at a much lower rate. Why is that>

    November 19, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. scott

    This is not a sporting event of who won morons....this is about our country, debt, and future. I voted for BO, but I feel he has not been honest and has had major issues with the legislative aspect of his job. Some will never care what he does right and others will not change their mind with all these bad decisions. In the end, all the taxpayers will pay for this. He is and continues to LIE about everything.

    November 19, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  22. American Worker

    Now there is a 'Bate and Switch' happening to those who has signed up thinking they were getting tax credits or subsidies.

    If this were an private exchange the Feds would be all over this with fraud charges. But since this is a government exchange they're getting immunity.

    November 19, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  23. Joe Chicago

    It's about time people started waking up. What took you so long?

    November 19, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. marjee123

    Gee does that mean he won't get elected for a third time. Tsk tsk tsk CNN and their scued polls.

    November 19, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC


    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.
    The correct figure is more like 80% of people had health care. It is dishonest to decalre that everyone of them was "reasonably happy" with what they had. The ACA does address the remainder. It requires that they go out and buy some health insurance. Your complaint is empty and baaeless. Classic hyperbole from the anti-government folks.

    November 19, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9