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.

Also see:

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Graham's 'comfortable' with Romney

Plouffe calls out GOP candidates over Obama reaction

soundoff (214 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

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

    Because the MSM keeps repeating and disseminating them without a single critical thought or iota of analysis using readily available data, evidence, historical record and expert opinion. Fact is, the "liberal" MSM desperately wants there to be a "legitimate" GOP/Teatroll position so that there can be a "legitimate" controversy to sell. If they spent all their time looking at and informing the public with facts and data like true journalists, etc., that disproved the lies the GOP/Teatrolls sell...or that either side is selling really...then they wouldn't have their giant political soap opera for very long, now would they?

    March 26, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  2. max

    NO SERIOUSLY, please tell me more..about obama's plan to fix the economy with even more money that we dont have

    March 26, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. Eric

    I've seen people saying here that their premiums jumped because of the healthcare bill. What world do you live in anyway? They've been jumping year over year for years now, but for some reason you think the noble and honorable insurance companies are raising rates suddenly because of the healthcare bill? There are many reasons not to like it, stop with the baloney arguments please.

    March 26, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  4. Briggs

    All state power should be wielded by liberals with degrees in sociology.

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

    as long it is right politics

    March 26, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  6. Outdoor Girl

    If the members of the Court want to be in politics, then they should resign and declare themselves candidates. If they want to follow the law, then let them decide based on the laws. I deplored the involvement of the court in Bush v Gore and I deplored the decision that declared corporations to be persons. The court is supposed to be impartial and that's how they should reach a decision.

    March 26, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  7. Jt_flyer

    Of course they will. 5 to 4 against

    March 26, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  8. svscnn

    The individual mandate is nothing more than a wink to the insurance companies in return for their well-spent lobbying dollars.

    They should've simply expanded the current medicaid coverage to cover more Americans instead.

    The current law has no teeth.

    March 26, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  9. New Yorker

    We need another poll... How many people who do not pay taxes, beyond the small payroll taxes, would be willing to reach into their own pockets to pay for this new healthcare system??? My guess is that people are looking for "free" not "included".

    March 26, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  10. jon

    To: KIm (Texas)
    You are thinking about this incorrectly. The states don't make it mandatory for you to have comprehensive auto insurance, which covers your own car. It is mandatory for you to have insurance in the situation where you are at fault in the collision and you are required to pay for the other person's expenses. Imagine if you get hit by some one without insurance and you are stuck footing the bill for your auto and medical bills. Your only recourse is a lawsuit. This is to prevent this. Medical insurance, on the other hand, is only used for your own personal coverage. It is not going to be used to cover your neighbor if he gets sick. Does this now make sense as to why the auto vs. medical mandates are not the same thing?

    March 26, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "If they go strictly by law, some of it will be overturned."

    The Wickard and Raich cases beg to differ.

    March 26, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  12. tom

    The Supreme Court is a joke. It's always been so political and their decisions are based on the platforms of the president who put them there. The current right wing leaning idiots in robes have shown their shrewdness by passing the law making it ok for Super Pacs to elect presidents/senators/congress. This has been an embarrassment to our code of justice and the whole election process. They did it cuz the lobbyists/Voldemort Mc Connell/Darth Cheney and Dumb Dubbya wanted them to. It is totally partisian and always will be. If Roe V Wade were to come up for vote with this sitting court it'd be overturned in a NY minute. Shame on the black robed villians...they should NOT get to be on the court for life. PERIOD.

    March 26, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  13. peckbag

    All you Repubs like to conveniently ignore the fact that conservatives originally championed the individual mandate.

    March 26, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  14. Michael

    Lets let the Tea Party and the rest of the anti-Obama fanatics have their way and not only dismantle the entire US government or effectively remove all regulatory and privatize everything. Then they can boil and seethe in the very cauldron of corporate feudalism left behind.

    March 26, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  15. Corey

    For all the people saying this has caused their premiums to go up, have you so easily forgotten that they were going up higher every year before this was even passed? Almost every year my company is on the look out for another insurance company because the premiums go up EVERY year. Like I stated earlier they were going up well before Obama was even thought of as a presidential candidate. That is one of the reasons this endeavor was started in the first place. Pre-Obamacare I think it went up 20% from one year to the next alone. If this isn't the answer then what is? Because it wasn't working before this law either. Should we have done nothing and watch cost rise?

    March 26, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  16. john

    conservatives are so small minded

    March 26, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  17. pchelp, Juneau, AK

    I'm really surprised opinions on how the judges are bought by their political parties is as close as it is. As for the law, it appears that 53% want something *at least* as strong as the current law-wouldn't it be a hoot if those opposed to the law got it overturned only to have it replaced by something that actually did do something about the cost of health care?

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

    This stupid bill has actually priced my family out of our healthcare. Thanks Obama

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

    My company premiums have gone up 19%, the provider says without O care we would have a 7% increase. What can I say, strike it down.

    March 26, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  20. Iamnotfooled

    President Obama is just trying to provide healthcare for everyone. His bad. Are you people crazy? One catastrophic illness or accident will cost you a hell of a lot more then a premium. Do you know what cancer treatments cost? Just the surgery is 100,000 not counting months of chemo and radiation treatments.

    March 26, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  21. RD Carrington

    Justice Kagan is breaking Federal law by even hearing the case. Not much chance of a fair outcome and I can't believe this poll of so many in favor. They can't have read the thing.

    Page 50/section 152: The bill will provide insurance to all non-U.S. residents, even if they are here illegally.

    Page 58 and 59: The government will have real-time access to an individual's bank account and will have the authority to make electronic fund transfers from those accounts. (I won't allow anybody to have unfettered access to my bank account.)

    Page 65/section 164: The plan will be subsidized (by the government) for all union members, union retirees and for community organizations (such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now – ACORN).

    Page 203/line 14-15: The tax imposed under this section will not be treated as a tax. (But it is.)

    March 26, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  22. stacknef

    Oh how I just love people blaming Obama for the increase in their health insurance premiums..... Perhaps you should balme the actual organizations that raised your rates,,,,, the health insurer and the Department of Banking and Insurance of your state that approved those increases.

    March 26, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  23. RD Carrington

    Try to put some facts in here and it goes straight to "moderation."

    March 26, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  24. jorgesedano

    This blog is really bias liberal. My goodness could anyone make a more useless interpretation of a poll...

    March 26, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  25. Corey

    Tom not true. If you did a little research you would find that justices that were appointed by Republicans in the past tend to vote more liberal and vise verses. The exceptions might be the ones Jr appointed. But if you look at ones Sr. and Regan appointed you would be surprised by their voting record.

    March 26, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
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