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CNN Poll: Should Obamacare be kept or repealed?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Thirty-eight percent of those questioned say the law should be repealed and replaced with a completely different system (18%) or say the measure should be repealed, with Americans going back to the system in place before the law was implemented (20%).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 More than six in 10 Republicans want the measure repealed.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

    I don't believe CNN can post true poll results unless it furthers their own agenda.

    May 12, 2014 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  2. Jerry

    CNN poll: 2,000 Democrats in New York and Pennsylvania..

    May 12, 2014 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  3. ECONOMYSTIC EXTRAORDINAIRE

    I really don't see why the Republicans are crying about. ACA is laying the groundwork for business to be able to rid themselves of providing health care benefits altogether just like they were able to divest themselves of the responsibility of retirement accounts. Making the individual responsible for their own healthcare expenses through government administered plans is better than business having to waste their resources doing it. Leave it to the individuals to take care of themselves.

    May 12, 2014 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  4. Bob

    It's here to stay, but it will be modified as they go.

    May 12, 2014 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  5. taxedmore

    Once a massive freebie is in place, how could we get rid of it?

    May 12, 2014 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  6. taxedmore

    This country needs more massive taxpayer giveaways.

    May 12, 2014 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  7. McBob79

    Good try CNN. Just add one qualification to your poll question. Keep it if it continues to in erase costs like it's doing today?

    May 12, 2014 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  8. chet

    Don't know who they polled or their demographics but Obamacare or ACA needs to go! Gone not to return! What should have happened was to allow cross state insurance polices to happen and to outlaw insurance companies from denying policies to those with existing conditions. What we have now is a mess, with people being denied treatment, charged because of the lack of proper terms being used, and loosing healthcare because they can not meet the minimum requirements with existing policies.

    May 12, 2014 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  9. Raymond Weil

    Complete propaganda based on a nonsense poll. The REAL poll will be at the mid-term elections. Let's see how the dims do running on the popularity of BO-care.

    May 12, 2014 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  10. LarryT

    My company's new ACA program went up 600%. Also, forget pre-exising condition treatment. They have to allow you to "join" the program, but they don't have to pay for treatment of pre-diagnosed conditions. So what changed??? We need something, but the ACA is basically broken. It will end healthcare as we have know it. Even if they revoke it, it is already too late.

    May 12, 2014 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  11. Solomon Walker

    He's "not right in the head!"

    May 12, 2014 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  12. wakeup

    The Unsettling statement in the article is the statement.
    "As expected, there is a wide partisan divide, with nearly nine in 10 Democrats saying the law should be kept as is, or improved."

    I am hoping the majority of those nine in 10 want improvement.

    May 12, 2014 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  13. SamT

    Here's how to make it better: leave healthcare up to the free market. No where in the Constitution does it mention 'healthcare'. Costs have risen for everyone, everyone who pays that is. The free market always keeps prices lower than gov't intervention ever will.

    May 12, 2014 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  14. Logictox

    Does anyone really believe CNN polls?

    May 12, 2014 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  15. pjoe

    Repeal please.

    May 12, 2014 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  16. thetruth

    @Robert – 62% supporting keeping the Act is a landslide by American Politics standards.... especially considering most Republicans will automatically vote against anything Obama does...

    May 12, 2014 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  17. Haromania

    I do not believe for a second that people who went 3 for 3 (higher premium, higher deductible, higher out of pocket max) are in favor of keeping it, & neither do most reasonable people.

    May 12, 2014 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  18. dzerres

    I love that the Republicans are sticking with the "repeal" thing because that along with gay marriage, birth control, voting rights, the minimum wage, climate change and a zillion other rights issues will be the death knell. It will be slow but it will be inevitable. Good for you guys; don't change, don't evolve, don't help anyone but the rich. I'm loving it. Note: in 2010 the Republican Party in Colorado almost lost certification because they went with a Tea Party idiot and got so few votes they nearly lost their chance to be certified as a true political party in Colorado – look it up. It will happen elsewhere too.

    May 12, 2014 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  19. WYLLGUY

    I know it's tough for the Right to get on board, especially when they failed to repeal the ACA sooooo many times. I wonder how they're going to combat the new information..I'm sure Fox News has their own poll of "Americans" regarding the effectiveness of the ACA..

    The truth is, no law is perfect, especailly one of this magnitude, BUT much to the displeasure of the Tea Partiers & Republicans..The ACA is pretty much working, and folks are beginning to realize how much of the myths created about the ACA came from the right.

    To all those who are against it; I'm sure you're benefiting from your new insurance policies as well.

    May 12, 2014 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  20. WYLLGUY

    The Tea Party and Republicans are not going to be happy to hear (they wont read it) this...The Aca is working and people are getting covered. I wonder how the GOPers will explain this to their big business insurance lobbiest when they start to pull their "support" (money) from GOP candidates they were backing to get the ACA repeal.

    May 12, 2014 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  21. kellsbellsfrompc

    A poll of 1,008 people represents 314 million Americans? Interesting that this article points out the one quasi positive answer.

    May 12, 2014 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
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