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CNN Poll: Should Obamacare be kept or repealed?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Thirty-eight percent of those questioned say the law should be repealed and replaced with a completely different system (18%) or say the measure should be repealed, with Americans going back to the system in place before the law was implemented (20%).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 More than six in 10 Republicans want the measure repealed.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

    I think most rational people realize we need a single payer system. The USA has paid 300% and supported an entire industry not related to healthcare too long. It would make it cheaper for everyone not to pay a coder a filer a payment coordinator and all the other middlemen that have nothing to do with health care. Here is an idea, let's pay doctors and reform malpractice and how doctors perform.

    May 11, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. El Texan

    When is the GOP going to learn that everything they do to make our president look bad blow up in their face.

    May 11, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. John

    BS! This propaganda brought to you by the Ministry of Truth.

    May 11, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. David Steele

    88% want it repealed or replaced. I'll use non-Common Core math...

    18% replaced with different system entirely
    20% replaced with previous system
    49% replaced with new changes

    Total, due to rounding....88%.

    Those not wanting changes, happy with the system..... whopping 12%.

    May 11, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    why should we be the only civilized country in the entire world which does not have universal health care for all of its citizens???...The ones who hate it are the insurance companys...And the insurance companys ar the omes who contribute heavily to the repubs! No,I see it as a good thing,and remember that when social security first came out there were loud outcries of "socialism"!! I think everyone should calm down and let this work....And everyone knows that the repubs are automatically against whatever the president does....So calm down..It's working!!

    May 11, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. Big_D

    The other thing that gets me is the staggering amount of misinformation provided by the right wing. Sure insurance is expensive but you killed the public option, get used to it or get a public option. There is a solution for your problem and you caused this problem because you wanted it to fail. We all are quite aware of your intention. Nationalized healthcare wouldn't be a burden to business and now days we pay higher taxes than some of the countries that have it already, with no security.

    May 11, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  7. Name.

    What a pant load. We'll tell what we REALLY think in November.

    May 11, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. P. Mitchell

    Your figures are way off. Most of OBcare should be repealed. Some of it is ok but the majority is really really bad. Time will show that then it is too late........ especially for seniors. BO just as soon see the old folks die than give them even hope to live.

    May 11, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  9. James

    Its more than we had before now if you can get the foot of the GOP off of the ACA's head then we might just have something... these are the silliest people who ever walked a planet playing host to a small percentage of fools who can't fathom change.

    May 11, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  10. Dave

    And the GOP's alternative is....? (crickets)

    May 11, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  11. Jerry Okamura

    This is a simple issue. If you place a high value on our freedom, you should not be in favor of Obama Care. If our safety is more important than our freedom, then you can support Obama Care. If independence is more important than dependency, you should oppose Obama Care. If dependency is more important that independence, you can support Obama Care. If the rising cost of health care is a concern, you should oppose either Obama Care or the republican alternatives because neither one will solve the cost problem. If you don't like the government forcing people to do what they may not want to do, you should oppose Obama Care..

    May 11, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  12. jlacke

    The text of the question:

    "As you may know, a bill that made major changes to the country's health care system became
    law in 2010. Which of the following statements best describes your view of what Congress
    should do in the future: (RANDOM ORDER) Congress should leave the health care law as it
    is, Congress should make some changes to the health care law in an attempt to make it work
    better, Congress should repeal the health care law and replace it with a completely different
    system or Congress should repeal the health care law and go back to the system we had before
    it was enacted."

    Doesn't identify the law. Past polls have shown that it is likely people don't know what the law in question is if it is not identified. Even then, it's questionable if they know (ACA vs. Obamacare). Do a poll that identifies the specifics of the law – employer mandate, individual mandate, birth control mandate, etc. – and see the results.

    May 11, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  13. Susan

    All we need to do now is to look to how the government run VA treat patients. If you like waiting months to see a doctor, you will be thrilled with Obamacare. The VA has given as all a big glimpse into our future. Those very sick needing immediate care were told to wait months for an appointment. That is the death panels we have been told by democrats is nonsense. The kicker is the fake lists were meant to make employees and thus that location look good, meaning that facility was running well and deserved bonuses. It is always about money.

    May 11, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  14. Wallaceboy

    "Crampon" got it right. Just wait until the demographic wave hits and the insurance companies adjust to cover costs. I am comfortable in retirement but we still pay a total of about $1500 a month plus deductible and get a bill for the difference. Middle class working people are the ones getting the short end of this stick. When the insurance carriers do the math they will want some help from the gov. Thus, we are on the way to gov healthcare. To make matters worse, my doc is going into a VIP practice where I will have to pay another $1500 per person per year to be a patent. In the end, Obamacare will divide us as a Nation ever more than before. This admin is kept in power by the poor and the uninformed. What ever happened to objective discussion of things like this?

    May 11, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  15. NonBeliever

    Talk about agenda reporting, look at this sentence at the top of the article:
    "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."

    It should have said for the purposes of clarity:
    "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 50% say it’s too soon to tell, and just under 40% consider it a failure."

    Just a little change in sentence structure, deliberate, obfuscates the real numbers.

    May 11, 2014 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  16. Randall

    Lawmaking and problem-solving by poll, is stupidly absurd.

    Let's analyze the data and see if "Obamacare" resulted in more people being insured at a more affordable price than before it was instituted. Let's be results oriented, shall we?

    May 11, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  17. ItSoNlYmE

    @earthshoes44 – your post is a PERFECT argument for a national single-payer system. Medicare for all. It's the only solution to the morass. ACA was a good first step, but typical of a good program, it was screwed up beyond recognition prior to implementation. Medicare for everyone!

    May 11, 2014 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  18. Nameterry

    i am 1000 % for the keeping the help care act

    May 11, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  19. alanread1

    The reason why Obamacare is so complicated is because Conservatives will not allow us to go to a simple, single payer, general tax supported "Medicare for all" system like they have in Canada. In Canada:
    1) all the primary care physicians are in private practice, so it's not socialized medicine
    2) all legal residents in Canada are covered
    3) you don't have to declare bankruptcy in Canada when you get sick, as 500,000 Americans have to do each year
    4) Canadian healthcare costs only 11% of GDP while the USA is approaching 20% of GDP.
    5) you don't have millions of uninsured Canadians using the ER for their primary care because they can't afford a doctor, as is the case in the USA
    *
    And don't try to give me any right-wing hate-radio lies about Canadians dying like flies up there because they have to wait years for treatments, because CANADIANS LIVE THREE YEARS LONGER THAN AMERICANS (see the CIA country facts website if you don't believe me). Also, the USA has 75% higher maternal mortality and 25% higher infant mortality, and rates much better then the USA in almost every category of citizen health!

    May 11, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  20. Jim Jimson

    My family saves $3,000 per year with better insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act or "Obamacare".

    May 11, 2014 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. gustifer53

    Sure, the only ones that don't want Obamacare aka ACA, are the shameless and heartless. No other logical reason for not wanting people to be able to get HEALTH insurance.

    May 11, 2014 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  22. gil

    Republicans would have more credibility in their attacks against Obamacare if they had an alternative ... But these days the party of dumb no longer even pretends to have ideas any more .

    May 11, 2014 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  23. cobaltmonkey

    I live paycheck to paycheck, trying to support myself, my wife and my son. My work provided health insurance costs have tripled since obamacare came out, my deductible went from $1000 to $4000, and my wife lost her job because her employer said that healthcare costs for her employees had shot up so much that they had to let 2 people go. So now instead of paying our bills and having a bit left over to save or enjoy some minor luxuries, we wait for food stamps to arrive and pray that nothing breaks since we have no savings anymore. Obamacare has transformed my family from financially secure to living below the poverty line and depending on government benefits to survive.

    May 11, 2014 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. PoliticalAnt

    This article proves that opposition to Obamacare is more about partisan politics than how bad the law is. If Obamacare was as bad as Republicans,so called Independents,etc. say so many Democrats wouldn't support it. They'd be just as hurt by Obamacare as non-Democrats and would oppose it to a similar degree. Many who oppose Obamacare simply do not like Pres.Obama or Democrats. For many, opposition is not about the law. Pathetic.

    May 11, 2014 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  25. Dan

    Count me as one of the 38% who want something else. A single payer system like medicare for all.

    May 11, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
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