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CNN Poll: Should Obamacare be kept or repealed?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Thirty-eight percent of those questioned say the law should be repealed and replaced with a completely different system (18%) or say the measure should be repealed, with Americans going back to the system in place before the law was implemented (20%).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 More than six in 10 Republicans want the measure repealed.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

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that the question was not worded like this: "Do you think a law that was passed on party lines abusing a parliamentary process called cloture, sold as not including a tax provision, then argued before the Supreme Court that it did have a tax provision, costing the taxpayers 10 times the original estimate, forcing everyone to pay for health care they don't need, causes millions to lose the health insurance they have, and requiring numerous executive actions changing the law without acts of Congress to avoid upsetting its supporters should be repealed?"

    May 11, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  2. PharmGrl

    @Earthshoes
    The only way the IRS can collect the individual mandate is by withholding it from a tax refund. See ACA Section 1501(g)(2). So all you have to do is change your W4s at work so that NO tax is withheld from your paycheck.
    This means of course that you will pay your income tax , if you owe any, in full before April 15 of the next year.
    The sooner you do this the less money the IRS gets for 2014.
    Democrats gave the IRS little power to collect the individual mandate since they know that punitive efforts like liens and wage garnishments will end up on Fox News.

    May 11, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  3. msradell

    As someone under SSDI I can say that Obamacare has done nothing but hurt my treatment options. I need continuous therapy to continue improvement and was receiving that until the Obamacare mandates may drastic changes to how therapy at hospitals was covered. Now instead of receiving continuous therapy I can only received 2 months per year therapy. I'm lucky if I get back to where I was the previous year after exhausting this year's therapy quota. It can prevent me from ever recovering!

    May 11, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  4. Josephina

    obamacare is insolvent and premiums and penalties will have to rise drastically to keep up with the costs. Most of the new enrollees are people with expensive to treat diseases that could not get coverage before and most are heavily or fully subsidized. By years end, the dookee will be hitting the fan, unless the lyingest administration manages a massive cover-up.

    The other problem is that the system is overloaded now because most of the new enrollees need lots of treatment and care. Last year I could get a routine appointment within a month - this year, there is a three month waiting list.

    May 11, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  5. dotofoz

    I'm not sure where earthshoes44 lives, but there should be a medicaid program that at least covers your children. Did you actually go to one of the people hired to help people with enrolling? Perhaps you misunderstood, especially since the coverage your employer offers isn't very good and is very expensive. I am sorry your state didn't expand medicaid. Remember, if you think you would have qualified for that, it's not the ACA's fault. The court would not allow them to force expanding medicaid. It's your governor's and legislature's fault. Remember that in the next election.

    May 11, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. jojo

    Agree with Crampon. This is primarily a power grab by the dems. Sure there are some dems probably most dems that were trying to come up with a way to insure the people. Difficult issue to solve.

    May 11, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. Just

    The Obama selling point, or at least his scheme to develop a legacy was to tout the 30+ million real US citizens who do not have health insurance. Now after this debacle is law and largely implemented........there are still 30+ million uninsured Americans.

    May 11, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. Tom Murphy

    88% want it repealed or changed.
    12% want to keep it as is.
    Disaster!

    May 11, 2014 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  9. 1776usa2016

    Who are the i d i o t s that say we should go back to the previous system?

    Where have they been the last 10 years?

    The previous system was collapsing in on itself. It had no more than 5 years before it would have completely collapsed and left EVERYONE in chaos.

    Obamacare is the best that could be accomplished given the political atmosphere we have today.

    Single-payer is what it should have been then we would have gotten rid of the middleman insurance companies that are stripping off 40% of every healthcare dollar. But that got buried under such an avalanche of misinformation that the only choice that was left was what we ended up with.

    It's not perfect but it's 1000x better than what we had previously. Millions more Americans now have coverage and nobody needs to lose their insurance due to pre-existing conditions. And those are really great things to celebrate.

    .

    May 11, 2014 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  10. Vumba

    Incredible!

    May 11, 2014 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  11. Nodack

    Obamacare isn't going anywhere. Go ahead and base your entire future on repealing it and replacing it with nothing along with Benghazi Republicans. Let's see where that gets you. Your hatred for Obama and Democrats has clouded your judgement. If Obama said he liked his black limo you guys would call him a liar and say the limo was grey and then call him a racist for having a black limo.

    May 11, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  12. radar8

    earthshoes44 – ACA still uses the same insurance companies that were used before ACA. While prices will drop a little, overall, most will stay the same. You get better coverage now, but still have to pay.

    It sounds like you are over-extended a bit, living beyond your means. IF there is no subsidy, it means you make more than $63,000 or $95,000 for a family of 4. Oh, boo-hoo. for you.

    May 11, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. strangerq

    what most do not understand.....all rates are expected to catch up to the demographic failure that is Obamacare later....

    ^ We understand sore loser gibberish when we hear it.

    May 11, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. Raj

    Most Americans, except hard core republicans will like ACA. Yes any program we have to fine tune and this program needs lot of fine tuning. But it makes sense for American healthcare. We can not afford runaway cost of healthcare. Hospital charges are highest in the world, physicians make the most in the world, drug prices are highest in the world, and we spend over 18% of GDP (last number I have seen) on healthcare. GOPers keep opposing healthcare reform but have no solutions to offer. Their proposal is a hidden way of keeping the costs high. How can a party be so short sighted, I can't understand.

    May 11, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. ari

    "Support for repeal is higher among people between 35 and 49 years old, and highest among senior citizens"

    of course it is. they have medicare now, so it doesn't affect them at all. repealing the law would do nothing to harm THEM. the epitome of the "i got mine" mentality.

    May 11, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  16. strangerq

    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.....

    ^ GOP losers in frantic denial. Should be fun! :)

    May 11, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  17. dejavu65

    Obamacare has been good for me and my kids....I don't how in the heck anyone would like to go back to the old system where Americans were getting ripped off......I paid almost 1000 month for my old family insurance, I hardly never used it for 3 years the one time I needed an MRI they sent me the 2K bill and said they would not cover it I was furious after years of robbing my bank account....I will take Obamcare any day of the week!!!!!

    May 11, 2014 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  18. dinkydow

    Still hanging on to that 8 million number are we? CNN's poll is counter to most others but, let's wait until Oct. when the next round of "you thought you could keep your policies" comes around. My guess is CNN's new poll will show people don't want Obamacare.

    May 11, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  19. Joe Pallone

    Did you really use the 49% who want changes made as a way to justify your headline touting the success of this ill-planned and poorly executed "law"? How am I supposed to take you seriously?

    May 11, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  20. Truth is

    If you don't work, or make very little money, your opinion about whether to keep ACA does not matter. You have been bought.

    May 11, 2014 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  21. Kendall

    Wait until the employer mandates kick in...conveniently post mid-terms. MMMMMM

    May 11, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. Forrest

    Giving Americans the 8-million person total that have signed up for health insurance under the ACA is misleading. How many of those enrollees were either uninsured, or insured to very high rates, because of preexisting conditions and lifestyle choices? What is the number of young, healthy enrollees? What are the projections for future premiums based on the current pool of insureds? I think we all know that the law of adverse selection is hard at work, and that the premiums being paid by these 8-million enrollees will not cover their claims. This is a game of timing. Premium notices, just like the corporate mandate, will nor rear their ugly heads until after the mid terms. The left will claim the ACA a success, they'll win their elections, and then the truth will hit like a ton of bricks.

    May 11, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  23. Observer

    Most people want a single payer, single source, Scandinavian style health system. They DO NOT want the big business feed trough that is Obamacare. We cannot afford it anyways. Take a look at what similar systems have ended up with in the UK.

    May 11, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  24. Louis S

    Does anyone pay attention to this man?

    May 11, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. Scott

    Keep Obamacare. I like most of what is in it, particularly the fact that people who choose not to get insurance have to pay higher taxes. They are moochers when they end up at the ER. I don't believe that they are not going to get sick. I also like being able to have my kids under my insurance policy when they are young adults. Republicans have no ideas about how to govern better than the Democrats. Neither political party has much of a clue about how to improve conditions for the middle class.

    May 11, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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