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CNN Poll: Should Obamacare be kept or repealed?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Thirty-eight percent of those questioned say the law should be repealed and replaced with a completely different system (18%) or say the measure should be repealed, with Americans going back to the system in place before the law was implemented (20%).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 More than six in 10 Republicans want the measure repealed.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

    The ACA is not Obamacare. I'm against all the attempts to repeal. They are a waste of time and money. I'd like to see it move to the original plan of Obama. It needs to become a single pay system not the plan of GOP with it's personal mandate. It grow into that mandate from Republican plans as seen in Romney's plan the preceded it. They liked keeping the insurance companies in the profit loop. As far as I've seen the problems have arisen mostly from insurance companies being in that loop.

    May 11, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  2. Enda

    @Kenman14, The 18+20% are part of that 38% that want it repealed, you moron. This is the kind of intelligence that wants Obamacare repealed.

    May 11, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  3. TNPatriot

    TJ
    The following sentence makes no sense: "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%)" What's the purpose of the (12%) in the sentence?
    ------------
    I agree, the paragraph was very poorly constructed, and the fact that there is no link to the actually survey results does not help folks understand. But here is what they were attempting to tell us:
    12% want the ACA to remain untouched
    49% want some changes to make the program better
    60% is the total of the above folks that do NOT want the ACA repealed.

    May 11, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  4. Marvin

    Show us some concrete proof that 8 million have enrolled. This is just another lie from an administration built on lies.

    May 11, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  5. pchelp, Juneau, AK

    I suspect those who say 'repealed & replaced' are lying. They know that if it's repealed it'll be harder than it was the 1st time to replace it-so they really just want it repealed. It does need to be changed but it's better than nothing. The problem is that what we were promised was health *care* reform. What we got was health *insurance* reform. Expand the Public Health Service. Make basic health care available to all and maybe then costs will go down. And maybe not-the cost of government inefficiency would be added but the cost of unnecessary services rendered to pad bills would be removed. Which would outweigh the other? And which is easier to correct?

    May 11, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  6. TNPatriot

    kenman14
    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!
    ----------------
    As I posted above, it was a very poorly constructed paragraph. Here is what the were trying to tell you about the results of the survey:
    12% want ACA unchanged
    49% want some changes to improve the ACA
    61% Total of above folks who want to keep the ACA

    18% want the ACA repealed, but want it replaced with a 'better plan
    20% want the ACA repealed completely and retaining none of it's benefits
    38% Total of above folks that want the ACA repealed.

    May 11, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  7. Mark

    The Democrat media cannot spin or cover up the reality of Obamacare now that is in place. The poll was spun

    Changing it is replacing it

    May 11, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. Ken Armstrong

    I think I see the problem here. You conducted a poll by phone. Probably polled a thousand unemployed people that were at home answering their free obama phones.

    May 11, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  9. HG

    Kenman14, 12 percent of the 61 percent want to leave the law alone; 49 percent of the 61 percent want to make it work better. That aside, your comment is illogical - you claim the article is "nonsense" and then you admit you don't understand the article and need someone to explain it to you.

    May 11, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  10. gdawg

    Kenman14: please take a course in critical thinking and try reading a little more carefully. The first sentence you don't understand means: 12% say leave it alone, 49% say improve it (12% + 49%% = 61%).

    The second sentence you don't understand, and then completely misinterpret means: 18% say repeal and 20% say return to the status quo ante (18% + 20% = 38%).

    and OrmondGeorge: no, the rest of the world doesn't have universal health care. However, much of the rest of the world ranks better in heath care outcomes than we do, and spends far less. We have been fleeced by a for-profit sickness industry.

    May 11, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  11. Down with Nazis

    If the reds had not screwed around with the law and the blues had had some backbone, you would never see another bill, and co-pay would not exist, and you could see any doctor you wanted and the insurance millionaires who provide NOTHING would make a million or two less this year. Get over it, right wing. You are genuinely anti American people, and pro money money money.

    May 11, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  12. Sammy T.

    kenman14 – Wow – You really must be an idiot to read the article, not understand it, then WRITE A RESPONSE showing how stupid you are. Let me break it down for you. (Follow along with the article)

    61% of people that want to keep the ACA with 12% saying to leave it as is and 49% saying to make sopme changes to tweak it and make it better. 12 + 49 – 61

    38% want the law repealed with 18% flat out wanting it repealed and 20%wanting things to go back to what they were before anything was put into place. 18 + 20 = 38

    Next time you want to attempt to make your argument look impressive, at least read the information and understand what it says. At the very least, attempt to do the math before making your own number up.

    P.S. – Is this Paul Ryan?

    May 11, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  13. fr33d0mhawk

    Over half say that its too early to tell if Obamacare is a success, wow, I didn't know that many Americans were that capable of rational thought and objective analysis. It is too early to tell. Since its over half, that means there are Republicans who also are on the fence until more time passes and more data comes in. That makes me very optimistic for our future, considering that over half of Republicans pretend really hard that Obama was born in Kenya. I pray that objective Republicans capable of reason and logic will take back their party from the Teaparty Taliban.

    May 11, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  14. Peter Vogel, Learning Tree

    Re: kenman14: 61% (12% + 49%) want the law kept or made to work better: That's 12% want it kept as is + 49% who want it kept but improved; 38% (20% + 18%) want the law repealed: that's 20% want it repealed and replaced + 18% who want it repealed and a return to original state. It's not that hard to understand. Your 38% + 18% is double-counting the 18% who are already included in the 38%.

    May 11, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  15. Bob Loblaw

    The rest of the civilized world enjoys our "big brother" protection status. We cant afford Universal Healthcare AND our DoD

    May 11, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  16. Lizzie

    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.
    - so you pay LESS then someone on MEDICARE who has paid all his working days into it, NICE

    May 11, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  17. Deac

    I wasn't asked

    May 11, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  18. Lizzie

    Down with Nazis, everything was FREE during the NAZI regime, do you want it back.

    May 11, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  19. Carson

    Every industrialized nation has national healthcare and live an average of three years longer than we do
    Now THAT's priceless...

    May 11, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  20. Shawn

    Obamacare does nothing, whatsoever, to tackle cost of service. Hospitals can still charge $80 for an aspirin. Insurance agents still get bonuses for claim denials. Obamacare shifts 100% of the burden of healthcare reduction on citizens, while forcing the people who are making millions from the industry to do absolutely nothing at all. Obamacare was the best thing to ever happen for private healthcare. And the public just follows along behind it like the mindless lemmings they are.

    May 11, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  21. Grinning Libber

    Suck it up regressives – you have LOST.

    May 11, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  22. CC333

    If I had been polled, I would say to repeal because its not fixable. Scrap it and start over so the uninsured in this country can afford to get insurance or we remain uninsured.

    May 11, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  23. Concerned Netizen

    These numbers, actually indicate how the "concept" of Obamacare is floundering, but reporters are free to feel as they want, so long as they provide their proofs in a fair, tho somewhat mangled way..

    May 11, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  24. diluded000

    Looking at this poll, I would question why Republicans are using it as a major campaign issue. Like immigration, it divides the party. This isn't the right issue to persuade swing voters to your cause.

    I see why Republican politicians are so opposed to it: every time one of their voters gets Obamacare, and likes it, they loose a vote. They are going all-in when they run on a platform to repeal it.

    May 11, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  25. Albert E.

    Impossible!!! Republicans told us that 100% of Americans hate Obamacare...

    May 11, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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