CNN Poll: Should health care law be overturned?
March 26th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN Poll: Should health care law be overturned?

Washington (CNN) - Most Americans don't want the Supreme Court to completely overturn the landmark yet controversial 2010 federal health care reform law, but only a quarter of the public wants to see the high court leave the measure alone, according to a new national survey.

And a CNN/ORC International poll also indicates that while the two year old law is growing in popularity, especially among independent voters, half of all Americans still oppose it, although some who disapprove of the measure do so because they think it's not liberal enough.

See full results (pdf)

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The poll's Monday release comes as the Supreme Court began hearing three days of potentially landmark oral arguments over the constitutionality of the sweeping health care measure, formally know as the Affordable Care Act, which was championed by President Barack Obama and passed by a Democratic controlled Congress.

According to the poll, 43% of Americans approve of the law, up five points from last November, with 50% saying they disapprove, down six points from last autumn. Of those who currently disapprove of the measure, 37% say they oppose the law because it's too liberal, with 10% saying the give the measure a thumbs down because it's not liberal enough.

"The views of Republicans and Democrats on the health care law have barely budged since last year," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But support among independents grew from 32 percent to 41 percent since November."

The survey indicates that 23% want the Supreme Court to leave the current law as is, with 43% saying some provisions should be overturned, and three in ten saying the justices should overturn the entire measure.

The principle question before the justices is whether the requirement that people buy health insurance is unconstitutional. The provision, known as the "individual mandate," was designed to help more people get affordable health insurance coverage - including the 49 million uninsured today - and bring health costs under control.

The health insurance mandate splits the public right down the middle, with a bare 51% majority of those questioned saying that they oppose it and 47% favoring the provision.

"Most women support the individual mandate," Holland notes. "Most men oppose it."

The potentially landmark arguments over the constitutionality of the sweeping health care law is one of the most politically charged cases in recent years in from of the Supreme Court. With a divided bench, do Americans think the justices will base their decisions mostly on an objective interpretation of the law? Fifty percent say that the justices' decisions will be based mostly on their personal political views, with 46% saying their decisions will based on an objective interpretation of the law. That may be one reason why six in ten Americans would like to see the Supreme Court allow televisions cameras into the courtroom when the justices hear arguments.

Will the Supreme Court's decisions on the health care law affect the general election in November? Maybe not. More than three-quarters say their vote would be unaffected if the high court strikes down all or part of the health care law, and the president might wind up gaining as much support as he would lose.

"One reason: only one in ten Americans say that health care is the most important issue facing the country today; more than half continue to name the economy as the country's top problem," adds Holland.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International Saturday and Sunday, with 1,014 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

- CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

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soundoff (214 Responses)
  1. digitalclips

    If people can be let off from paying their fair share then they should have to sign a 'do not treat' contract.

    March 26, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  2. Scef

    CNN you are being disegenuous with your reporting. A majority of Americans are for ACA, 53 percent. It is just 10 percent would like it to go further but they do not want it to be overturned. Only 37 percent wants that.

    March 26, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |

    Every time an uninsured person goes to the ER, the hospital eats the cost and raises prices for everyone else.

    THEN insurance companies raise rates on all of their policyholders.

    So, let's let the bums keep getting free healthcare while our rates go up. Or make them buy their own.

    March 26, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  4. Rick Sutter

    Appointments to the Supreme Court are made by politicians. How could their decisions NOT be political? And, any decision they make that you disagree with is a "political" decision. If they make a decision that you agree with, well then that was the right decision to make!

    March 26, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. Sarah

    It's a sad thought that a Judge may choose the right or the left over the law.

    March 26, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. fredisdead

    Americans are right! After citizens united debacle, I would not pass anything past this kangaroo court!

    March 26, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. Nick

    Regardless of what happens with this case the Supreme Court has way too much power. It is next to impossible for the President or Congress to overturn anything they do, especially in this era of extreme partisanship. The three branches of government are supposed to provide checks and balances but it's clear that the court is the ultimate authority. And the fact that it has become so partisan makes that even more problematic. Congress and the Supreme Court should have term limits just like the President.

    March 26, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |

    The republicans don't want everyone to have to pay. ha ha h aha ha ha ha

    March 26, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  9. GrogInOhio

    Recent evidence supports the conclusion that this court is indeed more ideological.... Citizens United? Bush v Gore?

    March 26, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  10. gregor1971

    The problem is that Obama made healthcare the top priority when the economy should have been front and center. When unemployment sits above 8% and you are trying to push a new healthcare policy, you've lost touch with Americans.

    March 26, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  11. Robyn

    Sadly, at this point, I am taking it for granted that Misters Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito are bought and paid for on this issue and that all the relevant decisions will be made based on whether the remaining five justices vote together for the good of Americans. Or whether corporate power can sway one more to let mulinational power run roughshod over Americans everywhere.

    There will be a desperation to fast track this case because if people actually experience what is really in the law, the anger when the supreme court nullifies it, could destroy the corporate party system.

    March 26, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. nancheska

    Hangtownie's for a lot of people has become a luxury. A close friend of mine can only afford "catastrophic" h.c. insurance. This isn't the best, since's he's got a lot of health problems. While you may be able to slide by with that while you're young and/or don't have any major health issues, how're people ever going to get h.c. when they're older and/or have health problems? Go to the ER? I know of one person who had to pay for her daughter's ER bill, after her daughter died. Huge bill, no

    March 26, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  13. Bill

    According to the poll, 43% of Americans approve of the law, up five points from last November, with 50% saying they disapprove, down six points from last autumn. <-----
    Now I wonder where they got those numbers from, because at this time i know of NO one within my neighborhood who was asked for their opinion. The problem with polls is, you can make the outcome anything you want. It isn't a matter of needing it, it is a matter of the government making you buy it. People can Still buy insurance. You do NOT need the government to make anyone do that/

    March 26, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  14. IndyNC

    Yes the economy is the biggest issue right now, but this is one of the contribuing factors –
    Run away pricing in insurance and medical... we pay out the nose for medical insurance, then pay out the nose again when we USE the Medical insurance, beause they are covering less and less.

    there are some good provisions, dropping "pre-existing conditions" and eliminating many "cop-out" excuses from the insurance industry, but it really doesn't do anything to guarentee lower costs... just promises from major medical insurance that if everyone buys in, it will get cheaper.

    Promises don't mean jack in this day and age... becuase we all know they won't be honored.

    March 26, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  15. (shaking head at stupidity)

    FREE???? LMAO!!! HAHAHA...FREE? Seriously? And you're NOT dumb you said? Really???

    March 26, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. Brenda

    Breaking News... These polls are not breaking news.

    March 26, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  17. andres

    What do we need a supreme court for? Just put it up to a public poll. It is a dam n good thing that we have a semi autonomous judiciary. If left up to the public polls, we would still be segregating our lives.

    Don't know about youse guys, but I have no idea on which way the supreme court will go.

    March 26, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  18. jamest297

    I wonder if CNN did this poll at the same time and with the same people as the poll about George Zimmerman?

    March 26, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. Sperkowitz

    They polled slightly over 1,000 people and said most Americans. In any case: 90% of those polled don't even vote. 100% of those that don't vote don't even know much about the law; just what they read in skewed newspapers and crappy talk shows.

    March 26, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. cajr

    personally i dont care if the government does offer healthcare or not. they should gove everyone free healthcare to all americans. just either everyone pays a small part or no one at all. the government takes enough of our money and there should be plenty to pay for it. i think people are just fed up with the welfare fraud that goes on rampant in this country and really believe people would be on board if everyone, even welfare and unemployed still pay a share based on their income.

    March 26, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  21. Voodoo

    Heck in WI every court decison is politically motivated. There isn't a judge here that's not on the Dem's payroll.

    March 26, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  22. Loathstheright

    When you have Rightwing Fascist Activist Judges there can be no real justice. They should impeach at least three who have made it known that they are bought and paid for.

    March 26, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  23. PoBoy

    The SCOTUS has always been political, and if anyone thinks differently they're high on some good stuff. If it wasn't then why would republican Presidents select republican judges and democratic Presidents select democratic judges? There is no such thing as an impartial, apolitical supreme court justice, and America doesn't want it that way.

    March 26, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  24. Mark

    313+ million people in the U.S. and this poll wants to convince us that 1,014 adults are an accurate sampling of the what this country thinks? I am not even sure that small of a sampling would count as a good indicator for a city with 1 million people.

    March 26, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  25. Mark

    A CNN poll is breaking news?

    March 26, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
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