May 11th, 2014
09:00 AM ET
4 months ago

CNN Poll: Should Obamacare be kept or repealed?

Washington (CNN) - A majority of Americans want to keep the federal health care law as is, or make some changes to improve it, according to a new national poll.

But a CNN/ORC International survey released Sunday also indicates public attitudes have been largely unaffected by news that 8 million people have enrolled in health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

Read the full CNN/ORC International results

Despite a victory lap by the White House following the release of that number, only 12% of Americans surveyed consider the law a success. Nearly half say it’s too soon to tell, and just under four in 10 consider it a failure.

According to the poll, 61% want Congress to leave the Affordable Care Act alone (12%) or make some changes to the law in an attempt to make it work better (49%).

Thirty-eight percent of those questioned say the law should be repealed and replaced with a completely different system (18%) or say the measure should be repealed, with Americans going back to the system in place before the law was implemented (20%).

Two other surveys conducted earlier this year – Kaiser Family Foundation in April and National Public Radio in March – also indicated majority support for keeping and improving the law. Two others, (NBC News/Wall Street Journal in April and ABC News/Washington Post in March), suggested Americans were divided on whether to keep the measure or repeal it.

As expected, there is a wide partisan divide, with nearly nine in 10 Democrats saying the law should be kept as is, or improved. That number drops to 55% among independents and 38% among Republicans. More than six in 10 Republicans want the measure repealed.

"Your feelings about the law are influenced by your station in life," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "There is general support for the law among young people and among people who are approaching retirement age. Support for repeal is higher among people between 35 and 49 years old, and highest among senior citizens, who are roughly split on what Congress should do."

Battle over Obamacare

Opposition to the law, approved in spring 2010 when the Democrats controlled the Senate and the House, was a factor in the Republican wave that November. The GOP took back the House following a historic 63-seat pick up, and trimmed the Democratic majority in the Senate.

The measure was also a major issue in President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election victory over Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Democrats picked up seats in the Senate and House in that election. And the measure is in the spotlight again in this year's midterm elections, as Republicans make their opposition to the law a centerpiece of their campaign.

Last autumn's disastrous roll out of the HealthCare.gov website was a top story for months. Even though things have improved, the poll indicates 47% say the problems facing the new law will not be solved, with 51% optimistic things will eventually be fixed.

The poll was conducted for CNN on May 2-4 by ORC International, with 1,008 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's for questions regarding the Democratic and GOP presidential nominations is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

soundoff (446 Responses)
  1. Hank

    Funny how the exact same questions pised to Foxnews readers yielded stunningly the opposite results. Which one is correct? Probably the more informed Fox poll voter.

    May 11, 2014 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  2. t

    ..Look,........this ACA LAW is being found as GREAT for those that originally "HATED" it, due to FOX and the GOP teaming to try and scuttle it. NOW, those that "HATED" the ACA are finding they are GREATLY BENEFITING from the elements that make it up., and therefore, the national GOP is slowly moving away from their complete opposition, to one that wants to reduce the benefits for the average American.

    May 11, 2014 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. Billy Bob

    Because people enrolled in a MANDATORY program does not mean it's a success. It also doesn't mean that those that enrolled can afford it. Everyone wants health care, it's a matter of can they afford it. Those in poverty who get subsidies for ACA still have to pay the deductible! How do you suppose that's going to work out? You are going to see a backlash at the polls this fall.

    May 11, 2014 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. LHH

    Wow this aricle makes no sense when you look at the numbers that CNN Poll gives as the results. This is written by CNN political editor since the article does not follow the data IMO it sounds like it was written by the White House. Here are CNN numbers, and CNN considers these to be positive for Obamacare? 12% think it is a success 39% a failure and 49% do not know. If these numbers are true than not too many democratic politicians will want to run on them. This is probably the most blatantly bias article that CNN has written based on their own data
    Leave health care law as is 12%
    Make some changes 49%
    Repeal and replace 18%
    Repeal, go back to original 20%

    Success 12%
    Failure 39%
    Too soon to tell 49%

    May 11, 2014 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  5. tommelba

    Again I say the same thing: The reason this is not working and will not work is the installers were not effective. This law has a bunch of sections that are designed to BUY VOTES for the Radical Dem0cratic Party in the election NOT care for the sick. If the system has been factual it would have formed a committee of each STATE COMMISSIONER ON INSURANCE LAW AND INSURANCE COMPANIES PROFESSIONAL LEADERSHIP. That causes even me to think this was a political slam dump not true coverage. Let us start solving the problems of care by altering the system to work not buy votes.

    May 11, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  6. revbro

    9 out of 10 republicans believe this poll is rigged.. because reality sucks for them.

    May 11, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  7. ug

    cnn lying again...nobody wants this garbage!

    May 11, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  8. Chuck

    For all of you citing that 40 some % don't like it, or think it should be repealed, bear in mind that a significant portion of those people think we should have a single payer, universal system. That makes the percentage that want to repeal the ACA and go back to the old ways a fairly small number.

    May 11, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  9. Moe

    People really can't call this government health care because the government did not take over the health care it just improved some laws that wasn't working for the people, so let's hope this law will stay and keep improving and hope the premiums will start dropping down

    May 11, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  10. steve

    Were it not for the ACA, I would not have access to health insurance, not because I need subsidies for the premiums, but like many I was denied coverage for preexisting conditions. My preexisting condition was only the possibility of getting ill. I am in great health, but could not buy health insurance at any price. Now I can go to the doctor, get preventive care, and reduce the risk of having a catastrophic illness. Everyone wins.

    May 11, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  11. Jeff

    Considering the only people opposed to Obamacare are the ones who don't have it, why don't they poll those who do? After all, we paid for it! I'm very happy to have healthcare and not be a burden or a free loader any more. I feel that I am contributing to the common good. I will see a doctor rather than go to the ER and leave without paying the bill.

    May 11, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  12. Brian from DC

    Just what exactly is the GOP healthcare alternative? Oh, that's right, I forgot: 1. Pray for good health. 2. Go to the ER when sick (and stiff the taxpayers). 3. Die quickly and go to heaven!

    May 11, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  13. Glenn Castleberry

    I would like to know what the #'s were for Social Security when it first got started ? Any glitchies in the system when first inacted ? Any initial systemic problems ? How would we like it if that just went away because one side of our polictial system does not like it, or in ACA case, don't like it because they don't like the President who got it passed into law ? With any new program there is always going to be bumps and delays. Access to affordable health care for all Americans should be, (an now is) a consitutional right. Stop trying to fight it just because you don't like (for no real reason at all), the President of these United States who finally got it into law.

    May 11, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  14. Scott

    If you think this legislation will ever be repealed you fail to understand the reality of the world we live in.

    May 11, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  15. Hold on.

    Right they want to keep it but hate it. I don't think so. Something smells fishy. It is not me.

    May 11, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  16. not funny

    The country is very polarized so it seems the 60–40 or 55–45 opinions are generally the current norm.

    May 11, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  17. Vijay

    Bad time for Republicans have already started...

    May 11, 2014 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  18. mudbug

    Why not ask REAL people instead of
    Obama worshipers????

    May 11, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  19. Obasm

    We need to believe what Obama tells us because it is good for us . Just believe .

    May 11, 2014 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  20. Mario

    The first sentence of this article is extremely misleading. It's obvious where Paul Steinhauser stands. What I read is that 87% of the people want Obamacare changed, replaced or repealed. How does that sound (accurate if the author wrote an objective column).

    May 11, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  21. Lee Downie

    Those who want to resume the "system" in place before Obamacare were never quoted a premium of $3,200 per month due to a pre-existing condition. That's private enterprise for you!

    May 11, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  22. raforrester

    "Thirty-eight percent of those questioned say the law should be repealed and replaced with a completely different system (18%) or say the measure should be repealed, with Americans going back to the system in place before the law was implemented (20%)."

    I'm amazed that only 20% of Americans want to go back to what we had before. To me that sounds like resounding success. I happen to support Obamacare but I still think it should be replaced by something completely different, like MediCare for all.

    "As expected, there is a wide partisan divide, with nearly nine in 10 Democrats saying the law should be kept as is, or improved. That number drops to 55% among independents and 38% among Republicans. More than six in 10 Republicans want the measure repealed."

    I am totally surprised that only 45% of independents and only 60% of Republicans think it should be repealed. So 40% of Republicans are OK with Obamacare, even with all the vitriol and propaganda against it.

    May 11, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  23. WillyNilly

    Even if the Republicans presented a plan... who would believe they were serious? They have fought healthcare for too long to have any credibility on the subject. If the public votes in Republicans on the basis of a better healthcare program, there's no way to force them to follow through... and they won't.

    May 11, 2014 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  24. twiz123

    Keep it or scrap it...well I say scrap it. In my opinion we are already broke enough...since everyone agrees that we #1 have no idea what its really going to cost us and #2 if we don't know how much its going cost how can we possibly know if we can afford it??? If there is one thing we know will sink our country for sure...its massive amounts of debt.

    May 11, 2014 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  25. Earle Decker

    I have nevr given Obamacare much thought.

    I have had the same Doctor and Health Insurance company for over 20 years.

    I was surprised to hear that many people loved their JUNK Health Insurance.

    Is this issue for Republicans REALLY about Health Care?

    Or is it REALLY about President Obama.

    May 11, 2014 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
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