CNN Poll: Time doesn't change views on health care law
March 23rd, 2011
05:30 AM ET
12 years ago

CNN Poll: Time doesn't change views on health care law

(CNN) - One year after President Barack Obama signed the health care reform bill into law, a new national poll indicates that attitudes toward the plan have not budged.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday, on the one year anniversary of the signing of the law, a majority continue to oppose the measure, but some of the opposition is from Americans who think the law is not liberal enough.

Thirty-seven percent of Americans support the measure, with 59 percent opposed. That's basically unchanged from last March, when 39 percent supported the law and 59 percent opposed the measure.

"It's worth remembering that opposition to the bill came from both the left and the right last year, and that has not changed either," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "In 2010, about a quarter of the health care bill's opponents disliked the bill because it was not liberal enough - the same as today. That works out to 13 percent of all Americans who oppose the bill because it did not go far enough. Forty-three percent oppose it because it was too liberal."

The passage of health care reform was seen as the signature domestic achievement of the president's first two years in office. The law was a major issue in the midterm elections and with many Republicans continuing to push to either repeal or defund the plan, health care will most likely remain a very important issue in the 2012 election.

There are two ways to look at the poll's overall numbers. One is that 59 percent oppose the law. The second is that if you add the 13 percent who oppose the law because it's not liberal enough to the 37 percent that support the law, you come up with 50 percent of the American people who disagree with the Republican leadership on the issue. The GOP gained control of the House and many state houses and legislatures in the November election on the basis, many experts said, of their strong opposition to what they said was "government controlled health care."

In what was seen as a largely symbolic move, the GOP controlled House voted earlier this year to repeal the law. At the same time, a number of legal cases that aim to overturn the measure are advancing through the federal court system.

With all this in mind, the poll continues to indicate a partisan divide, but also a gender gap among people who oppose the health care law.

"Men and women dislike the new health care law in equal measure, but not necessarily for the same reasons," Holland says. "Nearly all men who oppose the law do so because it is too liberal. But a third of the women who dislike the law feel that way because it is not liberal enough."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey was conducted March 18-20, with 1,012 people questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Two other polls released in the past week, by Gallup and Kaiser Family Foundation, also indicate that Americans are divided over the health care law.

CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: CNN poll • Health care • Polls
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. America Shrugged

    This is just one poll...There are many polls that say just the opposite. I wish the far left would go away for a while. They are a bain to those of us in the middle.

    March 23, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  2. rob

    As much as the people at CNN wish opinions would have changed about Obamacare, they are forced to admit that the polls continue to show the American people solidly oppose this law. The Democrats were soundly beaten in the mid-terms on the promise to controll spending and the growth of the govt, including the repeal or major change to Obamacare.

    Nancy Pelosi infamously said "We will have to pass the bill to see whats in it" . Well now that the public has seen the empty promises unfufilled and all the shady deals for the Dems union supporters and of course the false accounting of the costs it will never earn any more support.

    March 23, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  3. Grundoon

    Since only 46% oppose the healthcare legislation out right, you can concluded that the majority of American's want all to have acces to health care. 39% support the bill and the other 13% would support it if it went further in scope. That's 52% folks. Americans DO want this change!

    March 23, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  4. Buckthorn

    A poll like this is pretty useless, because it makes no attempt to find out how knowledgeable respondents are about the law. All we are seeing are based on what people think they know and/or what they have heard. If people are basing their opinions on false or erroneous assumptions as to what the law says or does, then what does this tell us, and why should anyone regard these opinions as "meaningful"? More likely, the poll may tell us which (mis)information/propaganda machine has been more effective.

    March 23, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  5. Rightswarrior

    This bill was a turkey then, and is still a turkey.

    March 23, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  6. Jeff from Va

    OK, according to the CNN Research Poll 37% approved and 59% opposed, so please tell me how this was passed with everyone in mind, that is Bull. You have less that 40% getting what they want and the other 55 +% paying for it. I don't have a problem helping people get H/Care, but they have to do their part, we can't have people sitting around waiting on everyone else to do the work so they don't have to. We have got to put a stop to all this free-loading. Call me what ever you want, but if you take time to think about it, you might see that I am right. Before you judge me, yes I have lost a job, had to do whatever i could to provide for my wife and (2) small children, so don't give me the "I can't find a job" bit.

    March 23, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
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