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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Graham's 'comfortable' with Romney

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soundoff (214 Responses)
  1. Dave

    I expect that the polarized and unprincipled Right wingers on the Court will completely ruin this great legislation on behalf of their political masters. I am sure the Koch's have paid Roberts a lot of money to ruin life for the Middle Classes.

    March 26, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  2. KIm (Texas)

    I dont understand how states can make it mandetory for you to carry auto insurance but could care less if you have health care, If i'm in a car accisdent and I have auto insurance to repair my car, but I cant go to the doctor. who cares!!
    my health is more important then my car.

    March 26, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  3. MTATL67

    I am going to vote for President Obama but I wasn't sure about ACA until I read about the Mary Brown. Mary Brown didn't think she shouldn't have to get insurance so she sued. Then medical bills helped in her in declaring bankruptcy. Now we all get to pay them for her.

    March 26, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  4. kman821

    It's the conservative Justices who make decisions based on their politics ... Citizens United is proof positive. The rightwingers on the Court are a worthless lot!

    March 26, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  5. paulmm82

    No duh. The bill will be upheld 5-4. I just want to let everyone know that this healthcare bill does not provide universal health insurance or make health insurance more affordable for anyone. I cannot afford health insurance today and I probably won't be able to afford it in 2014, but I will be eligible to be taxed for what? For being alive? This is outrageous and I will never, ever pay this tax the government can come and put me in shackles I could care less.

    March 26, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. Stuart S

    Hey Rick.....doesn't your severly disabled daughter benefit from healthcare reform ?....and if it wasn't put in place and possibly repealed, she would have maxed out her lifetime maximum benefits very quickly.......Hmmmmmm......

    March 26, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  7. kim

    Hey, tewks44, lawyers spend years learning how to deliberately write laws that no one can comprehend. It's called job security for them.

    March 26, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. John

    Wow, CNN is already greasing the skids to be able to cry "politics" if this thing gets overturned. If it doesn't, will you publish articles crying "politics" is the reason it was kept in place?

    March 26, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  9. El Flaco

    The five Republican Party hacks on the Supreme Court will strike down this law to give Republicans a campaign issue for the 2012 Election.

    It was Republicans on the Supreme Court who overturned the 2000 election.

    March 26, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  10. Bishop Vesievieus

    It is official:

    Queen of England vs. Pope.

    mud wrestling ~ Las Vegas and pay-per-view

    March 26, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  11. beatme

    Simply look at these old fashioned cloaked in them life long jobbers. Simply look again, this US SC gang, some of them breathe from their mouth and cannot stand 15 minutes without holding something. They and other l'O'w makers have given themselves to work to die with their paychecks not retirement checks. I wonder whether they have any brains left other than thinking their ailment and dysentery everyday filled with centennial backward politics to deliver verdicts on us.

    March 26, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  12. Another Day in the Idiot Mines

    "Just as thought, VERY few actually want this! Obamacare is not the answer we need as Americans..."

    That's not even close to true. You either didn't read the article or you're terrible at math.

    March 26, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  13. Jimmy

    I don't think the justices will hold politics above the law, but it's certainly true that they–as with almost everyone in this country–have an orientation that informs their political and legal views, and they will vote consistently with that. It's not quite the same thing as voting on the basis of politics.

    March 26, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  14. The all potent one

    Funny how the laws approval rating so closely mirrors the percentage on welfare...

    March 26, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  15. coastlinecascot

    Good Spin and damage control CNN!! Most that voted in your "poll" are liberals themselves and know whats going to happen. Its common sense

    March 26, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  16. the1stchastiser

    Republicans want the American tax payer to pay for their healthcare.

    March 26, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  17. Jim Brody

    Interesting that the age group that opposes the individual mandate the most is the over 65 folks. And they are all on (or are eligible to be) on Medicare!

    March 26, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "A CNN poll is breaking news?"

    Actually, given that it's just advertising revenue driven laziness and avoidance of true research and reporting, ALL polls are generally BROKEN NEWS.

    March 26, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  19. Matt

    Thank god we have a poll to tell us how the Supreme Court will vote. The court doesn't need contributions, and no one pays for their seats. They're legal scholars whose ideologies match those of the presidents who appointed them. Politics won't decide the decision because their offices are apolitical.

    March 26, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  20. Namejkane fl live from teapublican moon base no taxes, no regulation no health care, free gas.

    Why do people keep listening to the same old republican propaganda.

    March 26, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  21. lefty avenger

    It's all or nothing. We either have universal health care or only the top 1% wealthy receive health care. If the judges rule against then we Re-Elect president Obama and un-appoint Bush's judges in whatever backhanded way we can. There is no permanent law, only extreme partisan politics.

    March 26, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  22. Bill

    Still comes down to the key indicator: If this plan was so great for the masses, why is it not good enough for the President, Congress, and Union cronies of the administration? When the salesman selling me Yugo is driving a Lexus, it makes me wonder.

    March 26, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  23. Roger

    I just don't understand how you can overturn something that has not even been tried yet! Give the President's plan a chance. If there are things that need to be changed or adjusted certainly that can be handled down the road, but just don't dismiss something because the far right wing hates President Obama. I hope the justices have more integrity and give this a chance to work. God knows the Republican right wing has nothing better to offer!

    March 26, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  24. Mike

    Having polls is nothing but ways to further divide and control people's thoughts – on both sides. At the end of the day it is what our elected officials and/or appointed judges decide not polls. Afterall, back in the 1860's you could probably find a poll that a majority of Americans wanted slavery.

    March 26, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  25. Jules

    No, it should not be overturned. Switzerland has a similar plan where everyone is mandated to have insurance and it has led to lower insurance costs and lower medical costs and they rank above the US in healthcare.

    March 26, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
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