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:

Santorum: Romney 'worst Republican' to run against Obama

Ryan's open to V.P spot

Graham's 'comfortable' with Romney

Plouffe calls out GOP candidates over Obama reaction

soundoff (214 Responses)
  1. Bobby Dias

    Not a democratic law at all to me- a childish Barack Obama refused to sign anything into law until they passed his ObamaCare legislation. Before Barack's tantrum most Congress democrats did not support ObamaCare. Now 99% of Americans ignore it- only those that contributed so-called campaign contributions into Obama's bank accounts are getting their huge salaries for showing up, sometimes not even going to work.

    March 26, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |

    Awwwhhh...So the Supreme Court is going to take away all you poor people's healthcare reform privileges....What a shame....It's only too bad you low-life losers didn't complete your college education and law degree like I did to get a top-notch salary like I am getting here in a metropolitan city as a prosecutor. Then, maybe you wouldn't have to rely on the rich so much to take care of all you low-lives !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 26, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  3. todd

    The arguments I heard today at the S. Ct. are technical, they're trying to decide whether the interpretation of the AIA can be rooted in past precedent, and whether the current language of the law can support the AIA interpretation; they're thinking about what a new precedent would do to court powers going forward.
    The headline "Will it be politics or Law" is just flat-out annoying. It didn't appear the Supreme Court judges were being led by ideology at all.

    March 26, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  4. tafugate

    the american judicial system is woefully broken. there is precedent to back up whichever side of the aisle a justice wishes to support. one says the sky is blue, another says it isn't. one says water is wet, another says it isn't. there's no common sense applied, and it's never an unbiased interpretation of the law.

    March 26, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  5. jazzy

    News organizations like CNN should be the last ones to poll people on "objectivity". It's laughable actually.

    March 26, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  6. Pat

    It's time to stop letting people die because they got sick. Everyone doesn't need the affordable care act today, but we don't know what is in our future. Sick kids need healthcare, the elderly need healthcare. Check the story on St. Mart's hospital in St. Loouis a sick woman came to the emergency room they had her arrexted for trespassing. Sick in a ER, she was 29 and died 15 minutes after being drug to a police cell. They did not believe that she couldn't walk, (blood clots in her legs went to her lungs) We need healthcare to protect the sick.

    March 26, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  7. JC

    I figure either I and everyone else is paying for the uninsured or they can pay for themselves. So my first choice is they pay for their own medical services rather everyone else making sure they are provided for.
    –or– they don't have to get insurance and repeal the law that says Hospitals and emergency rooms have to provide emergency medical services. Make it so you must show ability to pay or have insurance to go in an emergency room.
    Either way I stop paying for the people scaming the system by not having insurance.

    March 26, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |

    the law had divide the nation,justices.

    March 26, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  9. RAM

    My health insurance cost doubled since the bill passed and they claimed it was because of the bill. Co-pays have tripled.

    March 26, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  10. John Doe

    I wonder what Sarah Palin has to say about this? It's been a while since I have heard the term 'death panels".

    March 26, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. stacknef

    MOST people actually support the law or dont think it goes far enough! the Repukes are just going to repeat the lies of 2010....

    March 26, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  12. TomR

    Anyone who has taken statistics would know that a sample of 1,014 out of 300 million is not large enough to represent the population. In addition, using telephone calls, which can only be directed to those who have listed telephone numbers and are willing to answer surveys is also not representative of the population.

    March 26, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  13. Bob

    Newt himself proposed the insurance mandate back in the CLinton years. Now he's against it. Romney and Gingrich have no room to complain. And Santorum has no room either since his daughter is alive today because he had at his disposal a government run insurance package that couldn't drop him because of his daughter's genetic disease. If he had to buy insurance privately before "Obamacare", he would have had to go bankrupt since they wouldn't have covered his daughter and Medicare only would have kicked in after they lost all their money paying out-of-pocket. And calling it "Obamacare" is a misnomer since Obama wanted at least a public option, but the GOP wouldn't let him have one. We should call the thing we have now, GOPcare since it was a imperfect compromise. Ideally we need a single payer system because that's the only one that makes economic sense. If insurance are allowed to dump sick patients onto Medicare, then the system doesn't work. Before the AHCA, insurers basically had a "no risk" form of gambling. People pay premiums, insurance companies have record profits, if someone gets sick they dump them so they never have to pay money. The old system was Socialism for businesses. It would be like if companies could make any kind of investment they wanted but any time an investment lost money, they just asked the government for that money back. Oh wait, that's what TARP was. So

    March 26, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  14. jaimeh

    ONLY the Republicans IN CONGRESS should have free Healthcare, subsidized by US taxpayers; the rest of us, will have to make the middlemen RICH, (aka Insurance Companies) in order to have ANY Health service at all, right? We can have the BEST heath care IN THE WORLD, if only we could get rid of the insurance companies, and just pay TO THE DOCTORS, which ultimately take care of us. BUT that is too much to ask to the greedy, sold out to the Insurance establishment, Republicans. They cannot lose the millions of dollars in their pockets, just because some silly people like YOU and Me.

    March 26, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  15. tstorm92

    I don't think Republicans should have to have health care. They should also be exempt from paying to have police and fire protection, their streets paved, and any other service our government provides. Republicans hate our government so much that when they need emergency services, their ought to be a list that says, "Oh, I see you're a registered Republican and you need the fire department. Will that be Visa or Discover card? I'm sorry, you're at your limit. Do you have another card to use?" Losers...

    March 26, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  16. Hugganoak

    I do not get it.....How in the world can anyone not support this extremely important legislation? I have yet to hear of one politician who doesn't think people should take responsibility for their own healthcare, and this bill FORCES them to do that. I for one have seen government save struggling families from losing their home, help educate them so they can find work and am still looking to find a reason anyone would just want to let poor people die. If anyone thinks the insurance companies have the bests interests of the public at heart, I have two bridges to sell them. One on each coast.

    March 26, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |

    The law had irrupted justices.

    March 26, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  18. beevee

    I think that President Obama administration's health care law is the best thing that happened to this country's healthcare issues. It is unfortunate that republicans oppose it now although a few years ago it was they that proposed it. What changed? Just because a democrat president proposed it they want to oppose it. American public (the republican leaning people particularly) dont' want to analyze it properly and see the long term benefits of it. They are short sighted and brain washed by health insurance industry and the politicians who are in their pockets. I hope the supreme court justices will be open minded in their judgement.

    March 26, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  19. JC

    It is shameful to this country, that people have no confidence in the Supreme Court to be anything but politcal on this vote.

    March 26, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  20. Greenspam

    Republicans want USSC to overturn Obamacare, social security, racial equality, everything good that was passed in the last 70 years.

    March 26, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  21. Thinking

    I've never been a judge in a courtroom. As I get older, I try very hard not to be a judge outside the courtroom. There are far wiser people than me in high courts.

    Taking care of the sick costs ALL of society, whether or not the sick are covered by insurance.

    Human safety, health, comfort, and dignity are significantly and deeply more important than vitriolic arguments about "minutae about whether or not requiring health insurance fits the founding fathers' view of how the government works."

    Our country, the United States, has allowed us to forgo dignity, privacy, and many of our rights in the name of the Patriot Act. This trampling of our freedom is, in my opinion, a far greater travesty than "whether or not the government mandates health coverage."

    March 26, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  22. MaryAnn in VA

    We all pay for the uninsured with higher premiums. Health care cost are helping to bankrupt this nation. What is the answer if this is struck down? Are any of you prepared to ration healthcare to those who pay private premiums? What if you forget your health insurance card...should you be left over in the corner to die? Should care be delayed? I think the supreme court has become the supreme partisian court and they will vote along party lines. The court is quickly marginalizing itself with the decisions it has made.

    March 26, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  23. EricNY

    Five conservative justices vs four liberal. The law gets tossed

    March 26, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  24. diridi

    I am glad, it is the Law. Insurance thugs need to stop lobby. Yes, I am glad this nation's dire need passed.

    March 26, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    The only thing that needs to be overturned is the GOP/Teatrolls, so Amurika can finally take a gander at their disgusting underbelly.

    March 26, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
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