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CNN Poll: Should Obamacare be kept or repealed?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Thirty-eight percent of those questioned say the law should be repealed and replaced with a completely different system (18%) or say the measure should be repealed, with Americans going back to the system in place before the law was implemented (20%).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 More than six in 10 Republicans want the measure repealed.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

    I love it when a story like this fires up the wing nuts. They despise progress and success unless it's their idea. Sorry, chumps.

    May 11, 2014 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  2. DDP

    I love the naysayers who are oh so quick to decry the Affordable Care Act, primarily because they do not want to pay for anyone but themselves. Well, time to grow up and get with the rest of the world–if you want to make a difference in this world, do something good for a change instead of complaining. The facts are that we have many poor people–most due to the stupid systems we have put in place decades ago–you fight to repeal something you don't even understand–what if it is your mother, sister, son, brother without health care–or is that not your problem either? It is incumbent on all of us to help each other, so stop your incessant whining and start doing something to help another.

    May 11, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  3. DH

    Repubs, give it up!!! ACA is here to stay. It's working and is already working on bring health costs down. Why are you people so against your fellow Americans being able to afford to see a dr? You Repubs are looking pretty ugly, just like Romney against the middle and working class that have been priced out if health insur for many reasons. The president even used the repub conservative heritage plan as a blue print to include you in formulating ACA. You idiots still said "no".

    Americans are sick of you crazy people. We told you in the last 2 elections as 8 years of bush had us 2 inches from another Great Depression, obviously trickle down did not trickle down. Those of us with brains will have no problem telling Repubs again ( like they just did in Nov in Virginia) WE DO NOT WANT YOU RUNNIBG THIS COUNTRY, you have a horrible track record. If it was not for the decisions Pres Obama made in early 2009 we might look like Greece right about now.

    May 11, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  4. pat o'brien

    Instead of "building a better mousetrap" the republicans completely focused on destroying the mousetrap. Certainly the plan is not perfect, but it is a plan and it is helping thousands of people get coverage, most importantly allowing people with pre-existing conditions to become insured. If the repugs had offered ideas to improve rather than destroy maybe people could actually think they represent the people in this country.

    May 11, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  5. PutAmericansFirst

    Well Eagle 1, maybe your help would have come if you paid better attention in school. The numbers you used were from the same poll, but different questions in the poll. If you take an overall poll that has ten sub-questions, you can't take the numbers from the individual questions and total them up for the overall poll. You see, there is a saying, one that fits the Republicans well. "Numbers don't lie, but people with numbers do lie."

    May 11, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  6. drkvenger

    If the employer mandate scheduled to go into effect 2016 was in effect today, most people with employer sponsored plans (roughly 80% of all insured) would lose their company plan. I don't think people realize this is coming otherwise they would not support keeping Obamacare. Take the poll again in 2016 and if that same 61% would support keeping Obamacare. Not sure why Republican's aren't sounding this alarm to all Americans. IMO this one mandate of Obamacare is the one that could potentially derail Democrat's power.

    May 11, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  7. Tom

    I am sure the underachievers who are paying less on the backs of those who sacrificed to make a good life are very content

    May 11, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  8. Ben Ghazi

    "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."
    Let me fix that for you. It should be:
    "Most people in red states voted for Rmoney, too. That just proves the majority is stupid and doesn't know what's good for them or the country."
    P.S. – Vote for me in 2016!

    May 11, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  9. Tutuvabene

    Obamacare is a deeply flawed law but it is a start and needs much improvement, including single price premiums set by the government and fewer insurance companies involved. Negotiations also need to be done on an annual basis with hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and provider associations to set prices for products and services. In other words, health care needs to become a public utility, much like the electric companies.

    May 11, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  10. kenman14

    WOW, what liberal blather and NONSENSE!

    Please, explain what this sentence means: "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%)."

    Also, consider this one:"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%)."

    It's hard to make sense of that one either, but the simple addition of the first two numbers (38% + 18%) means that a MAJORITY wants it repealed!

    May 11, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  11. OrmondGeorge

    "ObamaCare" will be fine till we get "HillaryCare" – Medicare For All – UNIVERSAL Health Care (like the rest of the civilized world).

    May 11, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  12. Lisa

    Obviously this article is a joke. Just another ploy by the main stream media to convince people that the majority of people like Obamacare and it is working. Everyone with a brain knows that this is not the case and the media and our government will lie through there teeth to push there agenda and try to con the American people. Obamacare is not a success. There are still over 30 million people uninsured. In fact it is a joke!

    May 11, 2014 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  13. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    Maybe we should deprive all these republican CLOWNS of healthcare and see how they feel THEN??????

    May 11, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  14. Fred Previc

    Seniors and young people may start to change their mind when they get the bill for the ACA. The ACA is headed for trillion dollar deficits (which younger people will be saddled with) unless Medicare is cut dramatically (which retired and soon-to-be-retired folks will pay for big time.) The ACA was, in the and, more about giving the large insurance companies a bonanza than about insuring everyone and cutting health-care costs. Most of the real contribution of the ACA to decreasing the uninsured population (expanding Medicaid, adding young adults to parents plans, no denial due to pre-existing medical conditions) could have been accomplished without the massive and disruptive overhaul of the medical insurance system. And, if the US really wanted to cut costs, the Democrats would have pushed for a single-payer system with private insurance supplementing the national plan.

    May 11, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  15. Jay

    Why is this any surprise? People dont care about numbers. they want to know how the Law affects them. As they said on Happy Days: "It's not so good, Al."

    May 11, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  16. hutch

    A majority of Americans who want to keep this crap are fat lazy worthless illiterate subhuman swine that never have and never will contribute anything, except to continuously propel more of their inferior filth out between their fat thighs.

    May 11, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  17. Lisa

    Obamacare is just another welfare system! There are so many subsidies that it is ridiculous and who is paying all those subsidies???? I am!

    May 11, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  18. Bill Mitchell

    You gotta love this poll.

    Make "changes" to fix the law? WHAT changes and by WHOM? The people who designed this 12% mess in the first place? That's like saying most people want to cure cancer but the question is HOW.

    To give the impression that this somehow indicates that a majority support Obamacare is just a lie. 12% support Obamacare because what Obamacare is right now is what it was meant to be. Because a majority support health reform of some kind does not mean they support the Democrat flavor.

    So here's the takeaway. How do we fix Obamacare? Simple, just remove all the "bad" parts. But then, it would no longer be Obamacare would it?

    May 11, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  19. frank

    We do not want socialist medical policies. The government has no right in telling us what is good for us and imposing their will on free men and women. THe current law suit will win where it is shown that only the House can propose tax legislation ( supreme court says it is a tax) not the senate. ACA originated in the wrong branch of congress, the senate.

    May 11, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  20. Put America First

    So 12% of the country think it is working while 88% think it could be made much better.

    May 11, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  21. Yet Another Poster

    Though most of these polls are suspect because they use phone calls to do their polling (who answers unknown-caller calls?), if the majority of pollees say "Keep Obamacare" then the Republicans for SURE better come up with something else to be against.

    Or...you know...maybe the Republicans could start being FOR something again instead of ALWAYS being against something?

    May 11, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  22. VegasSmitty

    They need to quit taking these polls in the White House basement.

    May 11, 2014 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  23. tet1953

    Polls are all well and good, but the GOP knows what is good for us.

    May 11, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  24. Bill

    So 12% out of 100 not wanting Obamacare to go away is the real story here.

    May 11, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  25. drkvenger

    The employer mandate going into effect in 2016 is the single most ctatastrophic provision that would force a majority of employer sponsored plans to be dropped. That would affect roughly 80% of all insured. That one provision would cause a hugh backlash against Democrats – which is probably why it got pushed back until the end of Obama's second term and well after the 2014 mid-term elections.

    May 11, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
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