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CNN Poll: Should Obamacare be kept or repealed?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Thirty-eight percent of those questioned say the law should be repealed and replaced with a completely different system (18%) or say the measure should be repealed, with Americans going back to the system in place before the law was implemented (20%).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 More than six in 10 Republicans want the measure repealed.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

    If you've been keeping track, the support for the ACA has been rising every poll. People are starting learn the good things and stopped listening to BS from the right.

    May 11, 2014 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  2. CapeCod

    Aren't you excited that our government will be running healthcare?

    Look at the great job they've done with the veterans healthcare....

    May 11, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  3. mcp123

    " ACA is a failure outnumbers those who think it's a success nearly 4 to 1" Perhaps your poll statistics challenged... it says 4 in 10 people consider it a failure. That means only 40% ... not 4 to 1.

    May 11, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  4. Kile

    Most people voted for Obama, too. That just proves the majority is stupid and doesn't know what's good for them or the country.

    May 11, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  5. blakenaustin

    Please excuse me if I am skeptical of the bias in a CNN poll. ObamaCare is an obamanation. It needs to be repealed. Any changes to the legislation need to come from Congress as prescribed by our U.S. constitution, not as fiat from the man who would be king.

    May 11, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  6. Johnny 5

    I trust the poll results for about as far as I can throw my car. My brother is disabled and recently his Medicaid was cut as well as his Dr., he now pays 1000.00 per month for his medications vs 150.00. He now has to select Drs. by zones, his specialist is now listed as zone 11 and he can no longer go beyond zone 9 for care. End result: can't afford his meds, no Dr. That specializes in his needs in zone 9 and forced to sign up for one of the 4 plans under the unaffordable care act ( which he can't afford). This story is just one of thousands and there's much more to come.

    May 11, 2014 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  7. Roger

    For Pete: Medicare was on the verge of bankruptcy had it not been for Obamacare playing games with the numbers, Social Security has been borrowed into oblivion ($2 trillion...gone), and Romneycare requires $500 million in federal grants per year to stay afloat (before the ACA). There is no success to point to to suggest the ACA will be anything but a burden. Massachusettes can turn to the federal government for its shortfall. Who does the federal government turn to? Just look at what happened to Social Security for your answer.

    May 11, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  8. Hillary

    Who cares. Republicans suck with all that lame country music.

    May 11, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  9. Hector Slagg

    The Federal Law need to be Repealed now. If each state wants to put something like it in place no problem. The people in each state can decide. They already have it in Massachusetts now. The Federal Law is UNCONSTITUTIONAL in spite of what the supreme court ruled. The Law is killing jobs hands down. It's jobs or Obama care. You can't have both.

    May 11, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  10. jharry

    This horse has left the barn, and there is no getting back in. I do not favor the ACA. It will be and already has been disastrous to US healthcare. That being said, there is no way back. We can only go forward and try to make improvements. The US will not go back to the days of Pre-X. There is no political appetite for that, on either side. As well, when has the US ever cut a subsidy. Not in my lifetime. So we know those 2 things will remain. However, the nonsense of Essential Health Benefits where 60 year olds must pay for Pediatric Dental and Maternity must and will go. As well, why restrict these subsidies to only policies bought through a government exchange. We don't need government exchanges. All of what will eventually remain could have been achieved with far less pain, if only the Dems had had the courage to call it what Roberts called it, a tax.

    May 11, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  11. fedupwithamericanpolitics

    Universal single payer health care is a human right. Everyone in american with a social security number should have access to healthcare. Anything less than this is wrong. The wealthy top 1% aristocratic oligarchy should not be the only people in america to have access to health. That is how the republicans would have it.

    May 11, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  12. Jeff

    I love how the GOP has stated they are going to use the "anger" America feels over the ACA as their platform in upcoming elections. The only anger is coming from their base, who would vote Republican regardless. This position isn't going to gain them any votes.

    May 11, 2014 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  13. gcrow

    Americans are now a lazy entitlement society. Third world status soon to come.

    May 11, 2014 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  14. Eagle 1

    OK basic math. 12% like it, 49% want it to changed, and 38% want rid of it completely. How does those poll number show anything but a complete lack of support. Help me out here.

    May 11, 2014 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  15. I readea

    My cobra cost, $468.55 and I have to get referrals. My new the ACA $194.55 and I do Not have to get referrals.My cobra copayment for drugs, average $15 a prescription, my new ACA copayment, $1.81 average a prescription. I call that a no brainer No wonder the GOP hates this, imagine that a citizen getting a deduction shame on us. Just remember come November you are a distant memory about to happen.

    May 11, 2014 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  16. wgf

    @lizzie - If you are advocating a system where a 10% tax allows you to get publicly financed medical care, I'm totally on board. (It's better than the employer/employee 3.9% we're paying now, and not getting anything until you've worked 40 years. Plus the employer/employee insurance premiums that are paid for 40 years would go away.) If you want to make the US competitive in the global economy, get rid of the system that essentially forces them to pay for their employees' medical expenses. I don't understand why anyone in the business community would ever be against the public option.

    May 11, 2014 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  17. rufus floyd

    As a senior I say that I am ashamed of the seniors who are against ACA. Greedy old people who think they are special. One new knee and they have used up all they ever paid into medicare.

    May 11, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  18. snowdogg

    "Nearly half say it’s too soon to tell..."

    I'm going with that also.

    May 11, 2014 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  19. PeteinNYC

    It is just awful the way the author spun the statistics to infer a positive opinion of the ACA. 12% want it to stay the same. That is it. Not 61%. Most people want to change it. The next largest wants to get rid of it. Only the smallest percent are happy with it the way it is.

    Let's just show a table withe data instead of putting it into categories that suit the author's views:

    Change ACA: 49%
    Go back to old system: 20%
    Repeal and replace: 18%
    Keep ACA: 12%

    See? Was that so hard?

    May 11, 2014 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  20. g

    well said PETE

    May 11, 2014 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  21. stan

    This article is all over the place, like a car spinning in the mud.

    Look at this paragraph:
    "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%)." Say what?! Is that 61% or 12% that want to leave it alone. It must be only 12% as in the same sentence 49% want to change it. Is the author of this garbage drunk?

    Then this paragraph:
    "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%)." Er, nothing in the paragraph even comes close to making sense. Is it 38% or 18% that want full repeal?

    Nothing in this disjointed piece of attempted spin substantiates the claim that a 'majority' want to keep Obamacare.

    May 11, 2014 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  22. bdby

    Yeh, this obamacare system really works, I beg to differ….

    Now that the system is shut down for the year it begs the question TO the democrats: What are you doing about the other 38 million uninsured people who are now locked out of the health care system until next November? How are you going to help these people? For instance if by chance someone gets a job and is now able to make their premiums? Or a person who is now ill, do you tell them their sicknesses has to wait until November? This entire system needs to be scrapped, it is nothing but a tax revenue generator coming out of my pocket.
    America is waiting for the answer DEMOCRATS.

    May 11, 2014 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  23. iceload

    Doesn't make any difference. The underlying tapeworm of runaway costs goes unchecked.

    May 11, 2014 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  24. Carol

    I think that most people have no idea what the ACA has really done to change the health care system. It's become a political weather vane with people choosing sides based on which cable news they watch. There has been so much misinformation on the ACA that people don't even realize they are against something that they would support under a different law. I actually saw a post about it that said something like "only 8 million sign-ups? Just 350 million more to go!" Obviously this person doesn't know that the ACA is trying to sign up those that are currently uninsured. My experience with it is that my nieces can stay on their parents plan through grad school and law school. My best friend's COBRA expired and she is now paying $164 a month due to subsidies from the ACA. I get my wellness doctor visits , blood work and mammograms for free. That's my experience.

    May 11, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  25. GlenR

    Always a laugh to see the GOPbaggers whine. The only thing your party is good for is invading countries that are no threat to the US or attempting to pass laws forcing everyone to become an Evangelical Christian against their will.
    Obama is far from perfect but he's done more for the country than the last 3 GOP administrations combined

    May 11, 2014 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
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