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

    Obama's poll ratings - 42% (Source: this article)

    Rob Ford's approval ratings - 44% (Source: CBC news network, not directly linked so the admins will allow post)

    Umm...

    November 19, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  2. Get over it

    Legacies are judged after many years. In a decade or two, GWB's legacy will be viewed more favorably than BHO's.

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

    This may be the single dumbest thing I've ever seen on CNN. It might have cost him a second term. But it didn't. An ingrown toe nail might have cost me my marriage, but it didn't. What's the point? Does CNN have a time machine? Try doing some actual journalism guys.

    November 19, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  4. Earle

    The Dems who voted for Obamacare will pay the price for this booddoggle. The naive Americans who voted for Santa Claus will be unhappy losing their Senators and Representatives who voted yes without even reading the Bill. They should of listened instead of calling us racists, nazis etc. Oh well, how does it feel to be so wrong?...

    November 19, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "he delayed the employer mandate because it was going to make what you are seeing now, 100 times worse."

    You guys love claiming that but the fact is polling has consistently shown that the vast vast majority of employers intend to continue offering insurance to their employees.

    November 19, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. Silence DoGood

    @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."

    So what? The Founding Fathers often omitted it in public functions too. Many of the Founders believed in some form of God (not necessarily Christian) and they kept it out of government.

    And if the conspiracy theory is right (which it isn't) and he a Muslim, he would still say "God" in some form. I hate to break it to you but all religions are allowed to use the word God in a land with Freedom of Religion.

    Conservative myth #3874837 – This is a Christian country and there should be a State Religion.

    November 19, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  7. Demigod Vadik, CA

    Woulda coulda shoulda...

    ...sure...Mitt would have won...

    ...keep dreaming...this is Obama you;re talking about, he beat even the Clintons...

    November 19, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  8. slimchic455

    How is it possible that any time, any person says something less than positive about Mr. Obama they are a racist? Could there be no other explanations for their criticisms?

    November 19, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  9. JoPags

    What a difference it makes when journalists do what we depend on them to do – ask the right questions and report facts. When Robert Gibbs and Jay Carney are your two most quoted sources in five years, someone's not doing their job.

    November 19, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. Hilarymyass

    YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN! What a joke of a president. Hmmmmm. Not that I was a fan, but not too many "It's George W. Bush's fault" comments.......

    November 19, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  11. jr

    If the administration and lawmakers were honest about the realities of the healthcare law instead of selling it to us, it would not have passed.

    November 19, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    Cool. A "coulda ... shoulda ... woulda poll which once again tells us nothing.

    No doubt Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is happy to see the polls are all tied up ... again.

    Yeah, I know. Yawn.

    November 19, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  13. Michael Cliff

    It's very hard to believe supporters of our President are still pointing fingers....incredible! The proof is in the pudding and it's unfortunate that a man that talked the talk, couldn't walk the walk. The job is too big for a community organizer.

    November 19, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  14. JL

    If American's had not been lied to about what Obamacare was...
    If the IRS had not targeted and delayed fundraising efforts by conservative groups...
    If the unemployment numbers hadn't been tampered with just prior to the election...

    Is there any question that this election was stolen from the people? What will it take to have a recall election?

    November 19, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  15. DC

    No one polled me. Obama lied. It's all he knows how to do. I think it's rather hilarious that all you young people who voted for Obama for all the "free" stuff are now figuring out it's going to cost you! Not so funny when you have to pay, is it?

    November 19, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  16. Bill

    Yep, and Obama's touted success story, the woman that wrote him a letter thanking him for Obamacare? She doesn't have insurance because her subsidy was "miscaclulated". So much for that success story.

    November 19, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  17. Thomas Nichols

    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.

    IN MY BOOK, IT"S NO LAW..best case is its's a missplaced bad child.

    November 19, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  18. klamerus@Pobox.com

    Leaders' popularity almost always dramatically suffers when making tough decisions/taking touch actions however they're dramatically worse when those are done poorly. This is a little of the first and a lot of the second (on top of the fact that the "reforms") only contained half of what it should (only the liberal agenda items). If this had actually been a mix of ideas from both parties things would probably be different to some degree.

    November 19, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  19. Sniffit

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

    You do realize that was widely used on Dubya before Obama, don't you? It's a perennial favorite for the opposition to throw at the sitting POTUS.

    November 19, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  20. citizenUSA

    I feel for the guy somewhat. I think he really thought he was going to do some good, and he has. We have to admit he was given a lot of stuff to deal with right off. That made it harder to do much else. I believe he thought Washington was not going to bother the first black president. He found out Washington is full of old men with old ways of doing business.

    November 19, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  21. The Real Tom Paine

    -Get over it

    Legacies are judged after many years. In a decade or two, GWB's legacy will be viewed more favorably than BHO's
    ****************
    So, remind us again: what was Bush's legacy? A war on terror that was often conducted on false assumptions and wishful thinking, or plunging the nation further into debt by cutting taxes in wartime? How about lax or non-existant oversight of every aspect of our lives that matters, as well as pushing through an expansion of medicaire that no one wanted? About the only good thing he did was in Africa with AIDS, so that begs the question: how did that make life better here?

    November 19, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  22. NameEdoggy

    Coulda, shoulda, woulda. Live in the now. Maybe don't mean squat.

    November 19, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  23. Turdgyl

    ACA bad law of the land. DNC thugs try to tell different.

    November 19, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "When Robert Gibbs and Jay Carney are your two most quoted sources in five years, someone's not doing their job."

    I'm willing to bet you all the money in my bank account that they've cited anonymous sources far more often than any particular named source. In fact, I bet you can combine some famous named sources together and you'd still find that they cited anonymous sources more often than the aggregate number of times they cited those named sources.

    November 19, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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
    -------------------------------------------------
    Really dude?
    It is the year 2013 and you're on this thread seriously talking about "masters"?
    Your next sentence:
    "Too bad the minorities see the wrong people as their masters", doesn't make it any better.
    On the contrary it validates your first one.
    You're off my reading list.

    November 19, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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