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CNN Poll: Should Obamacare be kept or repealed?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Thirty-eight percent of those questioned say the law should be repealed and replaced with a completely different system (18%) or say the measure should be repealed, with Americans going back to the system in place before the law was implemented (20%).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 More than six in 10 Republicans want the measure repealed.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

    As someone who examines polls, anytime you're not allowed to see the poll questions, the order of the questions, or the statistical data...be very leary of the "truth" they espouse. I smell a rat here. I went to the orcienterional website and you can't see the poll there either.

    May 11, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  2. Enough is Enough

    @Down with – YOU are the perfect example of the brain dead progressive. You would never see another bill?? Where do you think the money to pay for healthcare would come from? Fall from heaven? It comes from taxes! So someone is paying for it with their tax money. It's very, very simple.....yet the left can't seem to understand econ 1.

    May 11, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. DarqueSide

    Someone please send the results of this poll to Boehner. Enough of the repeal votes. Come up with some reasonable fixes, guys. Repeal ain't gonna cut it.

    May 11, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  4. Larry L

    @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
    -----------–
    I suspect they polled a thousand fearful, old, bigoted white people sitting around listening to Fox News and buying "natural herbs" for erectile dysfunction.

    May 11, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  5. sly

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    What's next Republicans?

    Will it be 'back to Obamas Birth Certificate?'
    Or 'Lets shut down government some more?'.

    I like 'shut down government'. Republicans like it when VA Hospitals are left unfunded, so veterans wait for health care. Oh that's right, the Republicans think those 50 million veterans and teachers without health care shouldn't get it anyhow.

    May 11, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  6. Bill

    I guess the GOP is screwed for November then. In typical fashion, their entire election strategy was comprised of running against something. In this case, Obamacare. If they can't do that, what will they run on? Certainly not their record of achievements because they don't have one.

    May 11, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  7. jimmy

    Ken Armstrong you are stupid! There is no such thing as Obama Phones. That program was started under Bush.. FACTS are such a pesky thing for you people to deal with...

    May 11, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  8. jimmy

    Yet we STILL wait for the Republican alternative....which so far has been waste money on almost 50 votes to repeal, and close the government...way to go "patriots"

    May 11, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  9. 1984

    I'm not a big fan of socialized medicine, but the health care industry (insurance co.s, docs, hospitals, ALL) should have seen this coming for years. Wages for the whole country have been imploding for 2 decades. Who do they think is supposed to SUBSIDISE THEM (the healthcare industry)? They didn't want socialised medicine because they were too indispensable. Of all industries they should have known the graveyards are full of indispensable people. They had a chance to clean up their act. Now the Government is involved because of them. And god help us all.

    May 11, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  10. Dennis Bell

    Every nation in the developed world has socialized medicine of some sort, and America will too. It's cheaper and just works better than our crackpot arrangement; you can't call what we presenlty have a system. Obamacare is just the first step toward single payer universal coverage.

    May 11, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  11. SweePee

    Republicans wish to 'draw' their own reality.
    The rest of us don't have to go along.

    May 11, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  12. davecu

    How important to us as a nation that out elected leaders, on both side, lied to us from the very start?
    We still can't take as gospel ANYTHING that come from the minions to the rich in Washington.
    They used to work for us, now it for their masters and their party. We become important in November.

    May 11, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  13. jaydavid666

    Well of course a flawed law is better than no law at all.

    May 11, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  14. jaydavid666

    Of course a flawed law that gives some people health insurance is better than no law and leaving millions uninsured.

    May 11, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  15. Hikertom

    I signed up for Obamacare with Kaiser. As a result, I am paying less per month in premiums for more benefits.
    By the way, I won't be voting for any politicians who want to repeal it.

    May 11, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  16. JohnQSmithofAnytownUSA

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

    Lizzie: With that low payment, that is a younger person, member of a demographic group who doesn't use much healthcare. I'm 67. Medicare plus supplemental costs me about $470 a month. Yes, that is more. But what are the chances that the person paying that low rate is going to have quadruple bypass surgery, which I just had (and then pleurisy as a complication, and then a blood clot as a complication of testing for the pleurisy)? Probably cost Medicare and the insurer (Blue Shield PPO, which allowed me to choose any doctor I wanted) $100k.

    I have always lived a healthy, very athletic lifestyle. But the hereditary scheit catches up with you at Medicare age. THAT, you nitwit, is why healthcare is cheaper under the crappy compromises the Republicans forced on Obama.

    The system that would work far better for all is universal health care, with one underlying payer - us as the people– for everyone, plus supplemental plans, as we have for Medicare. NOT government-owned hospitals or doctors working as federal employees. Private hospitals and docs, as we have now. A Medicare-like payment and management system for all. Far cheaper administration (private insurance adds 25% to overhead, Medicare 5%), far better control over spiraling health care costs, and manageable by the process of electing members of Congress. Under the system Obamacare replaced, some corporation told you whether you were covered, and kicked you out as soon as you became a member of an unhealthy demographic.

    Of course, if you're a right-wing nut buying into the GOP bullscheit, you'll believe none of the truth.

    And if you're on Medicare, you're just a selfish old fahrt who cares only about yourself.

    May 11, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  17. Larry38363

    It's not perfect and hasn't been perfect, but it's a start. You don't need to scrap it, it should be continually improved. But then, the right wing presents NOTHING for average Americans and just intent on destroying what little they do have! Time to send these greedy, partisan, jerks HOME permanently!

    May 11, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  18. ma4jmj

    I work for a very large company (50k+ employees). My annual deductible went from $700 per year to $3000 this year. THIS IS BECAUSE OF OBAMACARE! Let's get rid of it please! I don't know anyone who likes it....

    May 11, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  19. Olympic Eagle

    TNPatriot

    I like how you've summarized the article:

    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.

    But I wonder what the difference is between the 49% who want to "improve" it versus the 18% that want to "replace it with a better plan". My guess is that they are one in the same. Add to that the 12% that like it as is and you have 81% who favor some form of ACA. That is what this article is really about.

    May 11, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  20. Winston5

    Of course no one wants heath coverage to go away, what an inane question. At least they're using the proper metric. The anti-Obamacare polling was asking the wrong question: "Do you like the current plan?" A huge amount of the "no" votes were people who felt it didn't go FAR ENOUGH (hello single-payer system?). The dylng RNC is back on Benghazi this week anyway.

    May 11, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. sandiegowatch

    The poll was likely taken by Illegal Immigrants and people in poverty stricken neighborhoods.

    May 11, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  22. AnotherObamaBrainwashed

    Democrats should provide an alternative if they want to keep ObamaCare. Out of one side of their mouths they say that the ACA was modeled on RomneyCare and is a GOP idea. Out of the other side of their mouths they say the GOP has no ideas. So the only Democratic party ideas were to do silly things like eliminate competition across state lines and subsidize insurance companies by taking risk out of the equation with the 'Risk Corridor' bailouts? Democrats complain the GOP has no ideas, but they used a GOP idea, and added things that just drive up costs, eliminate plan choice with bloated plans, and protect insurance companies in their states Chicago-style. Single Payer will end up just like the VA secret wait list scandal, as wait times are issues in other countries, as is the quality of care a single payer issue.

    May 11, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  23. pat carr

    "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."

    no doubt you believe all unemployed people are sitting on the couch eating potato chips too. Does it hurt to think?

    May 11, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  24. Dave in SC

    Republicans investigate. Democrats LEGISLATE.

    May 11, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  25. happynurse

    Too many people have signed up for it...there is no way anyone who wants to repeal it will win an election

    May 11, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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