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CNN Poll: Should Obamacare be kept or repealed?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Thirty-eight percent of those questioned say the law should be repealed and replaced with a completely different system (18%) or say the measure should be repealed, with Americans going back to the system in place before the law was implemented (20%).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 More than six in 10 Republicans want the measure repealed.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

    Obama Care may have its faults, and what program doesn't, but for someone who is over sixty I was paying over $1300 per month for a policy that was the pits. Now I pay just $500 per month for great coverage. Of course people are saying it will go up but not triple. If I had my choice I would have gone to work for the government. Hey with its gold plated benefits I could have taken a cut in pay and still be better off. Just ask the present governor of Texas. This thirty year state employee will retire with a six figure income and all the benefits. Now that is what I call socialism and big government all wrapped up in one.

    May 11, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  2. Tim

    Wow. Talk about trying really hard to put a positive spin on the numbers.

    May 11, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  3. matthewjtanner

    Ha ha. Republicans are busted. All they have left is Benghazi, Benghazi, which isn't going anywhere.

    May 11, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  4. VEW2012

    @Cape Cod the government won't be running health care the insurance companies will be calling the shots, and average citizens will be seeing doctors and using regular hospitals. The government runs health care as Medicare for seniors with no problem, and that is how it should be running healthcare for veterans.

    The problem is letting the government run the hospitals where veterans are treated. Where congress can cut corners and not hire enough employees or doctors because congress decides how much to spend on VA facilities, instead of letting vets receive their care at local hospitals with a Medicare type payment arrangement. Yes, I know some vets need special care, but the truth is not everyone who goes to the local hospital is sent on to a burn center, or airlifted to a hospital that treats certain cases. I think most vets would do better if their military insurance treated them at local hospitals. That would save money, and provide better care for the vet.

    May 11, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  5. craig

    Obamacare saved us $14K per year and although their web sites were really awful my wife's persistence really paid off! We make well into six figures and qualified because of a good tax man and because California hasn't screwed the pooch like eathshoes44's state did. His "sky high rates" are exactly what Obamacare fixes IF you know to work with the system. We are both retired so this is huge for us. Most of the people who complain never really got through the Obamacare web sites and thus don't even know what they missed.

    May 11, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. crystal

    It just has to be changed to not screw over the young and the healthy and other people who don't even need benefits like maternity care, contraceptives, pediatric care, etc. And they still need to do something about the actual cost of healthcare if they want to see cost curves bend downward.

    May 11, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. Lawless4U

    So basically the poll pointed out that republicans and old people don't know what they are talking about.

    May 11, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. Alamb

    Everybody knows that the is flawed But for the Obama cult followers it's all about fighting for the 'legacy' of their god. Very very creepy!

    May 11, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. craig

    First Obama pumped up the economy from the grand canyon left him by warmongers bush & cheney. Then Obama created and passed the ACA, now recognized by all but political nuts as a success and saved us $14K year!! Then he got us out of Iraq bringing our troops home for Christmas! Now he will help the environment by bypassing the traitors in Congress. No wonder he and Gore won Nobel Peace prizes!!!!!!!!!!!! These are facts. Lyers and naysayers, stick it back up there or you'll become homesick. Hillary will win in a landslide because she will have no competition, which is really sad. Ted cruz is also a wetback taco-bender, his immigration papers are forged and counterfeit and will become public the minute he steps out of the closet. The pipeline is dead too, guaranteed!

    May 11, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. jdalco

    I doubt it. Try calling a few folks that are not registered Dems and see what you get for an answer. Then try again after they get their new higher rates . . .

    May 11, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  11. Mike

    I have a similar situation to earthshoes44 and it is the reason I do NOT support the AHCA. I am caught between a rock and a hard place –either pay a fine for insurance I can't afford or pay for insurance we can't afford to use.

    May 11, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  12. Richard

    Americans are so used to welfare and the state taking care of them they are too terrified to object to any of it.

    May 11, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  13. VEW2012

    @jimmy that is not an Obama or a Bush phone it is a Reagan phone, the subsidized phone program started under Reagan as a land line phone and became a cell phone under Bush.

    May 11, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  14. Bill

    Heres the thing; people don't know that the Affordable Care Act and Obamacare are the same. When asked if they support the Affordable Care Act, it wouldn't surprise me too much if many just said yes they support it or like it simply because of the mentality of "anything other than Obamacare".

    May 11, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  15. yuripelham

    Medicare for all. The medical industrial complex is a hindrance to the economy and creates loots of illness through unnecessary tests and procedures.

    May 11, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  16. phantom235

    Idiot Kool aiders

    May 11, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  17. johnny dough

    Nobody has a clue what this really is all about....go find Soros. ..George Soros. Obama's prime supporter and financial backer and follow the trail. These clowns didn't do this for anything but information digging and keeping tabs on their sheep. ..aka you!

    May 11, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  18. rhinojr

    really? I don't know many people who want to keep it… who did you ask Bo the Dog? keep up the Obama loving and Hillary loving…I find it humorous and pathetic all at the same time…
    I am sure on Monday am you will be emailed the next few articles to run… idiots

    May 11, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  19. mike

    they havent even implemented the most controversial aspects of this disaster. everything that would reflect poorly on this abomination has been delayed. lets wait until the entire act has been enacted before we try to draw conclusions. also, every single other poll has shown americans disapprove of the ACA, now we have one that seems to show the opposite. funny......................

    May 11, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. foodnetwork

    The video isn't working. Huh, just like the healthcare system.

    May 11, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  21. Polopoint

    Who did they poll? Democratic voters that voted for Obama in each of last 2 presidential elections?

    May 11, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  22. Tired

    Of course a majority of people want it... Because a minority of people pay for it. And, that minority is going to get smaller and smaller until this sinks our economy. Health care had problems before, but this is the wrong direction. I am in health care and work with this on a daily basis. THE problem is that market forces have been eliminated. When was the last time you as a patient had a conversation with your provider about cost: Virtually NEVER! Instead, everything has been turned over to a third party... The patients want more without paying and the provider want more for doing less. Until market forces come in, there will never be a control on the cost. Instead increasingly complex formulas will be constructed to artificially compensate. But eventually, this fails... In the past, while the economy was growing, more and more people had insurance to support the system. However, with the long term decline in our economy, this has ended which undermined the insurance industry (fewer and fewer people having insurance)... But now, this just widens the base and forces everyone to pay into it. But this is a temporary fix. Eventually, the cost will grow until it sinks us. This may be several years, but eventually it will happen. By the way, I have a good friend who is a COO of an insurance company and he has become filthy rich and is getting richer ever since Obamacare came in. HE LOVES IT!!!

    May 11, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  23. Robert constant

    The support of the Affordable Care Act continues to grow as more and more people realize how much better it is than what, if anything, they had.
    Support is also growing among the millions of people in the 24 states where Republican governors have acted to prevent millions of uninsured Americans from having insurance under provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The uninsured people along with their families and friends will be a factor for Republicans to deal with in the next election.
    This is why the Republicans have changed the conversation from Obamacare to Monica Lewinsky and Benghazi. The issue they hoped would win the election for them has boomeranged. For this reason they are trying desperately to create issues they can use to win votes.

    May 11, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  24. Chaz

    The numbers speak for themselves. Republicans continue to lie to the American people and have no alternative. America is falling behind the rest of the world and the republicans have no solutions.

    May 11, 2014 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  25. DustyOnesIsBack

    Obamacare was a scam to increase Medicaid in the States. Not all were dumb enough to do it. It is a failure.

    I have already talked to our insurance provider and she said the rates will skyrocket for companies after November, even with Obama's delay. We will be forced to send our employees to the "market". A sad deal.

    May 11, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
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