May 11th, 2014
09:00 AM ET
5 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CNN Poll: Should Obamacare be kept or repealed?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Thirty-eight percent of those questioned say the law should be repealed and replaced with a completely different system (18%) or say the measure should be repealed, with Americans going back to the system in place before the law was implemented (20%).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 More than six in 10 Republicans want the measure repealed.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. jperry9896

    Most people want ObamaCare, its just the GOP doesn't want it because it hurts their profits. The people will win.

    May 11, 2014 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  2. Mark

    As a small business owner I can tell you that our employee cost for health insurance have increased at least 30% for some and much more for others. Some employees are asked to pay almost $1,300 a month for coverage and with much less medical coverage and most have lost access to their provider of choice. We quickly discovered that most health care providers simply won't accept the plans provided by the heath care exchanges. Most of our employees now need to get referrals just for standard screening and treatment. Most employees lost their doctor they had previously as they won't accept the new insurance plans which means some of the employees have to travel much further to find a provider. Most plans offered only provide care to certain healthcare providers which compounds the problem and are also not near where my employees live or care to go for healthcare, which is in the greater Seattle area.

    When Obama stated that you could keep your doctor he did not know what he was talking about or he simply lied. From my point of view it was way better before Obamacare. Also the individual mandate in my opinion is a overstep by the government and a tragic conclusion by the courts which amounts to more freedom lost.

    May 11, 2014 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  3. Old favorite

    If you've ever had a reason to call the DMV...or SS, or the IRS, or any regulatory entity of the gov and you were handled efficiently, courteously and had your issue solved effectively... You're in the 1%.... You've arrived ! If you've served in the Military, are a vet with lifelong benefits and you've had issues getting services..do us all a favor and scream it out loud... If you can't operate a website, after 2 years and many millions of dollars spent...how does anyone think you can protect citizens in this most important element? Gov is not the answer... The philosophy of gov is to take And provide what they think you need... And..to redistribute what they take to everyone, including to those than don't participate.... Or provide anything towards those that do participate.

    May 11, 2014 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  4. CaliforniaAC

    I've always had medical care under my employer's dime. I'm now retired and my insurance is better: less copay ($0), less deductible before my insurance kicks in. Plan F which is the best I can get as the medigap (secondary to medicare). I was ready to pay more so ALL Americans can have health care, but it turns out I pay less. I don't think I could have stayed up with the rapid spiral of healthcare cost in this country and I don't think most Americans could have either. Thank God for ACA.

    May 11, 2014 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  5. keeeleee

    I would like to see those 8 million to pay their premiums.

    May 11, 2014 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  6. JMorcan

    Of course this program is a failure. Revenue neutral? Not a chance. It's a house of cards built on lies. It will serve only to put a few more nails in the middle class coffin.

    May 11, 2014 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  7. Norm

    So there are basically three groups as I see it. Those that love ObamaCare because they get subsidies and/or the ability to quit their jobs (2 million by CBO estimates), those that hate it because they were kicked off their old plans and/or had their rates sky rocket to pay for the first group. And finally those that are indifferent because they haven't their chance to pay for the first group yet. Just wait till all the thing Obama conveniently postponed until after the election hit.

    May 11, 2014 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  8. Paul

    BALONEY. The tainted, politically correct news media, including CNN, at work. Also, about the only new story added to the CNN "News" website all weekend. Like this is the only news story they could come up with?

    Did I mention BALONEY?

    May 11, 2014 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  9. txan

    So the GOP is selling itself to about 38% of Americans. No wonder they can't win national elections.

    May 11, 2014 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  10. leftinflagstaff

    How valid can any response be to something not even in effect?

    May 11, 2014 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  11. itsnotwhatyouknow

    And now, the more rabid conservatives will proceed to proclaim that "only 12%!" support the ACA, and so it should be repealed. Second verse–same as the first. And dosey-do yer pardner!

    May 12, 2014 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  12. Randy

    We keep hearing about these polls, but nobody ever asks me or anyone I know of. How do they know the majority of Americans want to keep it? How many do they ask? Do they just go to the Democrat voters and ask them? Do they ask like 50 people and if 26 say yes, then that's how the rest of America feels? Also, if Obamacare is so great, why is Obama and Congress exempt from it? Nobody has ever answered that question.

    May 12, 2014 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  13. JoeP

    The poll is carefully designed. They ask if you want Congress to leave it alone knowing most people hate Congress. I wonder how many people are too stupid to realize this.

    May 12, 2014 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  14. chuck

    Funny how the news media can twist something as simple as a poll. 12 % leave it alone and 49% say say make changes (Fix it) and my guess is that's because it does not work ? So those who think it broken and needs to be fixed, now means it's great lets keep it. Great job Paul Stienhauser

    May 12, 2014 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  15. JohnRJohnson

    OF COURSE, this why we're only hearing about Benghazi now.

    May 12, 2014 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  16. BorisRoberts

    Well, according to right wing hate radio, 99.2 of Americans that belong to the NRA or Aryan Brotherhood, wish Obama was in Benghazi when the shooting started. And they all agree that The ACA will never work, and nobody wants it.

    In reality, I don't trust the numbers that the administration gives us. Nor the numbers that the opposite party gives us, but I will assume the split is about 50-50. Some people will never accept it, because it is democrat sponsored, the same guys that would hate it if it was Republican sponsored. They vote for the party, not the issue. A real good way to keep everything standing still. And it is absoltely standing still.

    May 12, 2014 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  17. Anonymous

    the problem is the real ACA has not hit yet, if you let this thing go on you won't be able to appeal it and then see the misery.

    May 12, 2014 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  18. Keith

    So, do I want to go back to not having insurance, NO I do not, Do I like this sweetheart deal they made for the insurance companies, No I do not

    May 12, 2014 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  19. Peter

    This article is an insult to your intelligence, just like the so called poll that said 90% of Americabs were for gun control. Pathetic. For the best poll on Obamacare you need look no further than the actual number of people who signed up... Less than 8 million people equates to Less than 2% of the population effectively meaning it's a dismal FAILURE! Even under threats of penalties and fines, Americans in mass refused Obamacare.

    May 12, 2014 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  20. LeftCoast

    I dare anybody to defend the previous system. Go ahead !! Try to defend it.
    .
    That's the system we would have presently, if Obama and the Democrats hadn't passed the ACA.

    Obamacare is not perfect, I would prefer a single payer like medicare paid by taxes on all income whether from work or investments.

    May 12, 2014 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  21. Anonymous

    Public Approval of Health Care Law
    Polling Data
    Poll Date Sample For/Favor Against/Oppose Spread
    RCP Average 4/7 – 5/4 - 41.0 52.2 Against/Oppose +11.2
    USA Today/Pew Research 4/23 – 4/27 1501 A 41 55 Against/Oppose +14
    Rasmussen Reports* 5/3 – 5/4 1000 LV 43 53 Against/Oppose +10
    ABC News/Wash Post 4/24 – 4/27 855 RV 44 49 Against/Oppose +5
    NBC News/Wall St. Jrnl 4/23 – 4/27 1000 A 36 46 Against/Oppose +10
    FOX News 4/13 – 4/15 1012 RV 39 56 Against/Oppose +17
    Gallup 4/7 – 4/8 1009 A 43 54 Against/Oppose +11
    All Public Approval of Health Care Law Polling Data

    May 12, 2014 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  22. Rick Mathews

    The headline is misleading. "Most" does not equal a simple majority. To me "most" would indicate a figure above 75%.

    May 12, 2014 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  23. drew

    Wait until the cost shoots up because its a bloated mess... Its a bit early to call a touchdown or a failure. We will see come Sept/Oct when and if people can still afford it...

    May 12, 2014 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  24. Dan

    Only 12% want Congress to leave Obamacare the way it is currently. Democrats have too much pride to change the law and are completely ignoring the millions of Americans with premiums that have doubled or worse.

    May 12, 2014 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  25. UpsetVoter

    The bill was poorly written and the blame rests with both parties. The democrats made it too complex and expensive to implement, in a typical big government democratic fashion, and filled it with non health related items. The republicans, who feel the old system that rejects millions due to the tiniest preexisting condition is the best, took the just say no attitude and refused to take part in the process. We ended up with a system that has great intentions of insuring as many Americans as we can but was designed with large issues and is too complex to understand.

    I give the democrats a C- for making it into a monstrosity that is beyond normal comprehension. I give the republicans a D- for not participating due to a belief that the old system was the best we can do. Medicine in this country is way behind many countries who do have universal coverage and more expensive than all other countries on the planet. We can do a lot better. It is best to fix this law since it is already implemented.

    Personally, I have no party affiliation. The inflexible extremes of both parties has made them unappealing. People have differing opinions and that does not make them good or bad people.

    May 12, 2014 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
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