May 11th, 2014
09:00 AM ET
2 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CNN Poll: Should Obamacare be kept or repealed?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Thirty-eight percent of those questioned say the law should be repealed and replaced with a completely different system (18%) or say the measure should be repealed, with Americans going back to the system in place before the law was implemented (20%).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 More than six in 10 Republicans want the measure repealed.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. Craig

    Congratulations Democrats. You have won. You are to be toasted and revered. And when government then takes that right away, just know that deep down…you were too stupid to see it coming.

    May 11, 2014 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  2. Jubei

    ACA is a godsend to many middle class families suffering from extremely high insurance cost. With family premiums from work reaching 800 to 1200 a month, who can afford this nowadays? Thats including 40 dollar copays and 20 dollar prescription for generic. If you want the non generic it's gonna cost you more. Hospital, emergency? Thats 5000-10000 dollars. Ridiculous.

    May 11, 2014 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  3. are122

    Obama care has been a boost for the insurance industry for sure. What could be better than having the government force people to buy your service?!! Rates will rise, no doubt along with tax payer subsidies. Federal support to States will decrease while State taxes will increase to pick up the loss. It's an all around win-win for big insurance.

    May 11, 2014 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  4. jack

    I like how they word it.....just 4 in 10 feel its a failure. I guess it sounds better than 40% CNN is a joke.

    May 11, 2014 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  5. Chuck

    W H A T ...............P O L L ?

    Did you poll the CNN Staff?

    Lately you guys just lie without a blink

    May 11, 2014 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  6. Ted Annter

    I remember when the Republican Party was the party of WE CAN DO ANYTHING. Now they are quitters in regards to anything that doesn't get them votes. Once a nation of, "we can go to the moon", "we can cure incurable diseases"... now it's "we can't do it" when it comes to decent healthcare for all and worse yet, our public schools. And this is why, after 40 years of being a Republican I kissed the party goodbye.

    May 11, 2014 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  7. Dr. Strangelove

    Wah! Wah! I want my free stuff!

    May 11, 2014 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  8. barbara

    The fact that it's a CNN survey says it all..... all lies.

    May 11, 2014 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  9. BobbyinLC

    I love these polls. They talk to maybe 2000 people. Those results do not show what America is thinking. If you poll 2000 people and 61% of them hold an opinion that is a far cry from 61% of all Americans. Please let;s report poll results fairly.

    May 11, 2014 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  10. BillCA

    Seriously?!? Keep it?!? Why? Why? The majority of us are AGAINST it and all the horrific side effects and it's high taxes.
    KILL OBAMACARE!!!

    May 11, 2014 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  11. HelloAll

    Based on this poll, 88% of Americans believe that the ACA is not working well.

    It's easy to make statistics say whatever you want when you lump categories together.

    May 11, 2014 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  12. SimplyPut

    Try spreading your pool for polls beyond LA, San Francisco and NYC, CNN, and you may just find that the real majority of Americans want this piece of legislation repealed and out of our lives forever. I can't imagine that millions of people who have lost their insurance, or who will lose it in time, are jumping for joy about this law – neither are the people who cannot afford the policies and now have to pay penalties for not buying one...

    May 11, 2014 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  13. JAKE

    The facts are that the U.S. spends about the same per citizen on healthcare as other developed countries until the age of 65. This is when the graph on medical spending in the U.S. becomes parabolic. This shows that those with very little "skin in the game" demand the most services. A healthcare spending account would make the consumer accountable and slow the rate of rise. Paul Ryan proposed this but the President's ideology took precedence over doing the right thing, fiscally, for the country.

    May 11, 2014 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  14. mcgruder

    The fact that CNN is even begging an answer to this question, means that this ignoramus insurance bill will be repealed! It is just matter of a few more PUBES elected to wash it out of the picture...!

    May 11, 2014 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  15. Nancy Franklin

    Of course not. One of the wealthiest nations on the planet should not be concerned about the well being and health of their citizens. If you can't afford health care for your handicapped or mentally challenged or sick children then it is because you are stupid and did not become a Wall St. robber.

    May 11, 2014 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  16. Kevin

    Robert, If it were 60-40 the other way I bet you'd find it pretty darn compelling. 60% is enough to override a filibuster in the Senate. It's the obstructionists in the Republican party that have redefined 'majority' to be 60% instead of 51%. There's 30% of the country that is going to be against it no matter what because they are far right and it's got Obama's name on it so it must be bad. There's another 30% that would be in favor no matter what because they are on the opposite side. So out of the 40% leftover who you could actually swing either way 75% are in favor of making improvements to it or keeping it the way it is. That's why a slim majority of 61% is actually quite significant in the face of five years of half of the politicians spending every ounce of their energy saying how terrible it is while the other side has really bungled its launch.

    The 8 million enrollment for this year doesn't really tell you anything because the penalty for the first year is quite low, and many people probably expect it to even end up getting waived before it actually happens but even if it doesn't it was still cheaper than paying for the insurance even with a large subsidy. So you would expect the sign ups this year to be mostly the people that had previous coverage but had to change it and people who wanted it but couldn't get it because of pre-existing conditions. Next year is when the arm twisting of the rest of the people really goes into effect. The 40% of the people saying that it's a failure are again the 30% who would say that no matter what and the other 10% are idiots. It's too soon to tell.

    May 11, 2014 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  17. tonede

    I am very happy with the insurance I purchased...much cheaper than any other offers I have ever had. I get laid off frequently, and when COBRA kicked in I could not afford 1400/month. The Blue Cross plan I purchased on the exchange which includes dental and vision is way, way less than that or what I paid while working. The Healthcare act is working for me just fine!

    May 11, 2014 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  18. Edwin

    I think the most interesting thing is the comments and their extremely partisan views. Some conservatives dispute the poll numbers because they *know* that Obamacare is bad – so they don't need actual facts... Other conservatives do not dispute the numbers but are quick to point out that 60% is not *really+ a majority – or something like that. Others, more liberal,are so excited they are proclaiming the end of the Republican Party because of this one issue.

    The truth, hard as it is for everyone to take, is that ACA is here to stay. But most Americans are not cheering – because most Americans really don't care. The purpose of the law was to help those who fall through the cracks of our previous system – so since most people do not fall through the cracks, most people are not affected much. So it is, at best, an abstract attempt to help nameless people and at worst, an abstract waste of money.

    Neither of these situations is going to sway many voters.

    May 11, 2014 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  19. 2_indy1600

    Thrown out of ACA without any recourse, because United was smart enough to dump the PCIP plan offered under ACA once the plan ran out of money. This happened after the IRS lost MILLIONS....was paying $525, then $444 a month, and then it became impossible to afford. Imagine what the poor people are up against! Repeal or divorce from IRS and Arthur Anderson of Enron fame who is handling the accounting. No brainer, like every word out of Pelosi's mouth.

    May 11, 2014 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  20. Mark

    Clowns Rule

    I don't believe this poll for a second. Obamacare is a financial / logistical mess that will bankrupt this country. It is just a means of the government controlling more of our lives. I was one of many who had my health insurance cancelled and saw a steep increase in the new policy. Please print what our fearless leader said about this a few years ago... "affordable health care". LOL By the way this is going to hurt small businesses that give jobs to many of the lower and middle class. They will simply step of the layoffs and cut people's hours back to less than 28 hour / week. What a great plan!
    ------------------------------------------
    Several flaws in your post. First, it is not the first poll to indicate the public generally accepts the ACA and does not want it scrapped. Even several Republicans acknowledged it would be really hard if not hard to do. I dont think anyone would suggest it was a good rollout (it was terribly marketed and even more poorly executed). As for implications, it is way too early to tell. And so far the GOp has not offered anything comparable.

    May 11, 2014 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  21. Liberal Lion

    What did the Republicans offer? ...I rest my case!!

    May 11, 2014 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  22. swatguy

    uh huh, 8 million signed up including 6 million of us who lost healthcare to begin with. Where was the survey taken, along the CA/Mexico border?

    May 11, 2014 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  23. Ken

    When will the DNC, oops CNN ever put in the same story that yes 8 million people have signed up but 6 million of those were forced to when their policies that they already had and liked were pulled out from under them forcing them to have to sign up for the ACA.

    May 11, 2014 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  24. Jeebusss

    ACA definitely needs some tweaking to make it work better and not cost us too much money. However, the Republicans acted like the ACA would cause the collapse of Western Civilization. They have lost all credibility to even comment on it.

    May 11, 2014 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  25. Ashanabobo

    If American government spends billions of dollars helping other countries and yet, they can't help there own citizens with affordable health care for all; then what example are they setting for the world? An average citizen in this country would get sick and pay through his/her nose, or is it because the idea was initiated and implemented by Democrats? Romney did the same in Massachusetts and it worked. This is just a borrowed page from that play book.
    This shouldn't be politics as usual. Insurance companies would not cover those with preexisting conditions, yet THEY are in the business of providing HEALTH CARE INSURANCE! Peoples' lives are involve here. It's not politics as usual people.

    May 11, 2014 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
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