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CNN Poll: Should Obamacare be kept or repealed?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Thirty-eight percent of those questioned say the law should be repealed and replaced with a completely different system (18%) or say the measure should be repealed, with Americans going back to the system in place before the law was implemented (20%).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 More than six in 10 Republicans want the measure repealed.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

    Now that the ppa-aca is a huge success, republicons must find something else to smear the President with and low and behold, they pull spinghazi out of the dead horse file and start beating it again, Immediately, the President's poll numbers skyrocketed up to 48% approval rating, making republicon's and especially tea party heads spin like in the exorcist.

    May 11, 2014 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  2. wxqz

    Obama: 1, Entire GOP Anti Obama Aparatus: 0

    Price gouging health care tycoons, on the running

    May 11, 2014 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  3. mickinmd

    "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%)."

    In other words, of the 38% saying "repeal", 18 of the 38 want it repealed so an even better system – like extending Medicare to all – can be put in place and only 20 of the 38 want the old system back.

    So, despite the fact only 20% of Americans want the old system back, that's the ONLY Obamacare bill John Boehner has allowed to reach the House floor in 2 years. Freshmen GOP Congressmen are livid because their amendment bills were torn up by Boehner. Apparently the idea is to let whatever unforeseen flaws in the original law fester and hurt the American people hoping they'll eventually turn on it.

    May 11, 2014 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  4. MFMG

    These results are very surprising considering the money that has been spent by the Republican Party to convince Americans how bad the ACA is. Millions in ads not to mention the government shut down costing billions of $$. Politicians are elected to improve and make our country better not to tear in down.

    May 11, 2014 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  5. OALAHEHO

    Love the spin you put on the numbers, CNN. 12 percent said it was a success, 49 percent want it changed, 38% said scrap it outright. Changes that would satisfy the 49% would likely be so drastic that you wouldn't recognize the modified law as "Obamacare" anymore and may as well have repealed it. Obamacare is a complete and utter failure and no amount of spin by the media is going to hide that.

    May 11, 2014 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  6. Reggie from LA

    But...but...but, Sarah Palin thinks it's bad, right? That's all that really matters, right? I mean, she's the one who has told us what Obamacare is all about. If she doesn't like it and enough people don't understand it, then we probably shouldn't like it. Right? A lot of people who don't like it have no clue as to what it entails. Only what we get from biased media shills. Sad that we allow disinterested entities run our lives for us. It's one thing to be unappreciative of the program, but at least have good reason. By the way, everyone whose costing the ACA from their living room couches are amazing analysts. Wow!!. The GOP whined for months about the 2K plus pages of Obamacare. So those who don't like it have read 2,000 pages of insurance guidelines? Yeah, right!

    May 11, 2014 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  7. AJinFLA

    I've been paying for healthcare for 10 years, nice to see I no longer have to cover all the bills for the deadbeats who don't want to carry insurance.... I imagine in a few years, costs will actually go down.

    May 11, 2014 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  8. Frank Balibundi

    Blah, blah, blah ! Obamacare is the law of the land. Those calling for a repeal, might have an easier time repealing the Emancipation Proclamation Act !

    May 11, 2014 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  9. anon

    I didn't sign up. I will not sign up. I will also not pay a penalty, fine, fee, or tax over it. Period, end of story.

    May 11, 2014 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  10. Observer

    Dishonest, partisan political headline stories like this one explains why CNN will never host a Presidential debate,again.

    May 11, 2014 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  11. Quixote

    It is here, it isn't going anywhere, because it is helping millions of our citizens. So, it is inevitable that something this monumental will need tweaks, but it will be something our grandkids will be celebrating just like we have been celebrating fifty years of the Civil Rights act, Medicare and the other. Great Society liberal/progressive reforms that have made life better for every American since their passage......Obama will be remembered in the top tier of Presidents because he prevented a Great Depression and he got this law passed. That and he ended the jingoism that dubya and the repubbies wee trying to undertake.

    May 11, 2014 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  12. readerpan

    ACA is not perfect but what is in this world. It beats hell out of what we had before and can get better by going to single payer and deep-sixing the for-profit health insurance cartel.

    May 11, 2014 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  13. gstlab3

    I just want that pill the president was talking about when this whole government run health care thing got started.,
    you know a pill just to make me more comfortable while I slowly decline and get old and can no longer pay my fair share.

    May 11, 2014 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  14. Mr. D.

    CNN, When you only poll a hand full of people, you can't claim most Americans...

    Reality is MOST Americans do not want Obamacare and even more do not want Obama here.

    May 11, 2014 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  15. AARON

    Take a poll after low income households have their EIC consumed and possibly have their first tax bill thanks to the penalty. Also poll around when businesses start unloading their group health insurance plans to the exchange. Way too early to judge popularity when the lion share of the effect has not taken place yet.

    May 11, 2014 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  16. Davezs

    Poll by the communist news Network (cnn) ===Garbage === Most working Americans what comrade obam care repealed

    May 11, 2014 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  17. Fred

    Wondering if CNN threw away all the negative votes, because I sure don't hear anyone around where I live that's excited about it!

    May 11, 2014 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  18. san

    The ACA is fine, with maybe a few tweaks here and there. I'm also for Medicare for all, get rid of all these middle men, that suck money from health-care. What people need to be afraid are these Republican politician's who are actively working to destroy the ACA. What kind of politician would actually go out of their way to try and keep other American's from getting Health-care, just boggles the mind. We don't need politician's like this in office, out with the whole lot. There is not one Republican in office, in this nation, that deserves your vote, not one!

    May 11, 2014 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  19. Joe Hates Government

    Nothing but lies. I don't know anyone that is in favor of keeping OlamebamaCare. I now have to pay half of all my medical bills because of OscumbamaDoesn'tCare. I didn't have to pay anything before and my insurance went up 33%. Rx's are being denied now due to ObamaDoesn'tCare. This article is bunk.

    May 11, 2014 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  20. TM

    But that can't be right. The Grand Old Tea Party has been telling us, since BEFORE the ACA was passed into law, that 'Americans don't want this". They wouldn't lie to us, just to score some cheap political points, would they?

    May 11, 2014 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  21. So you say. . .

    Hmm, 8 million enrolled! Wow, isn't that just awesome?...but somehow this sounds just too good to be true, given all the problems.

    May 11, 2014 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  22. dave

    spin it for the master liberal press.... spin spin spin

    May 11, 2014 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  23. Roger Thatte

    Obama Care is Fascism 101, plain and simple. Being forced to buy insurance from private corporations is the merger of state and corporate powers. The insurance companies will rake in billions of dollar and the government will tax those billions to get their cut. It's the scam of all scams with higher premiums, deductibles and less quality care. In the words of a great thinker (George Carlin), "The tables are turned, the game is rigged folks and you and I are not part of the big club (Corporations & Govt.)!"

    May 11, 2014 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  24. Joe

    Let me see if I read this correctly. Only 12% consider it a success, but 61% want to keep it. Excuse me while I.....LMAO! I wonder how many people would believe the Communist News Network if they declared Obama a deity and demanded everyone bow down to him. Oh wait, they do that already.

    May 11, 2014 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  25. Angry old man

    Keep yer gubmint hands off mah medicare!

    May 11, 2014 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
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