September 27th, 2013
01:17 PM ET
9 years ago

Fact Check: Is Obamacare unpopular?

Obamacare is unpopular.

“The more the American people have learned about this law, the less they’ve liked it.” – Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

The Facts
Obamacare is not a wildly popular law and negative views outstrip favorable ones. That’s a fact. But the isn’t wildly unpopular either. And Americans who oppose it do so for wildly different reasons.

According to a CNN / ORC poll, 43 percent of Americans favor the law. With less than majority support, that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement. But Americans who oppose the law are split. Thirty-five percent of people who oppose the law felt that it was too liberal. Sixteen percent thought it actually wasn’t liberal enough. As for whether opposition has grown, that isn’t borne out by the facts.

In March of 2010, according to a CBS / New York Times poll , thirteen percent of Americans strongly approved of the law. A much larger portion, 33 percent, strongly disapproved of it. Twenty-four percent somewhat approved and 15 percent somewhat disapproved.

Fast forward three and a half years to this month and not much has changed.

According to the same poll, now 17 percent of Americans strongly approve of the law. That’s a slight but probably statistically insignificant jump in strong support. Strong disapproval went from 33 percent in 2010 to 34 percent this month. Twenty-two percent now strongly disapprove (a statistically insignificant rise of two percentage points) and seventeen percent somewhat disapprove (again, two percentage points). Fifteen percent had no opinion in 2010 and ten percent still have no opinion today.

Other polls have showed a wider swing. Forty-one percent had a favorable view of the law in a May 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation poll. That’s down to 37 percent in August of 2013. Opposition, however, grew less – from 40 percent in April of 2010 to 42 percent in August. The number that has grown the most in the Kaiser poll – 14 percent in 2010 and 20 percent in August – who say they don’t know or are unsure about their opinion.

There has been a slight jump in the number of people who said the law would “hurt” rather than “help” them. In 2010, 20 percent of Americans in the CBS / NYT poll thought the law would “help” them and 38 percent thought it would “not have much effect” on them. Thirty-five percent thought the law would “hurt” them. Now 40 percent think the law will hurt them, 18 percent expect it to “help” and 40 percent don’t expect much of an effect to their personal situation.


True, but misleading. It is absolutely accurate to say the law is unpopular, at least according to current opinion polls. But disapproval is for a variety of reasons and not always the ones opponents say it is. Also disapproval has not markedly grown in the three years the law has been in effect. What’s more, a lot of Americans still don’t know a lot about the law. In that same CBS / New York Times poll, 52 percent of Americans said they knew “some” about the law. And 26 percent knew not much or nothing at all.

Filed under: Fact Check Obamacare
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Jason

    Keep trying to put a positive spin on ObamaCare. Americans know the truth: It's a disaster.

    September 27, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. Sandy

    So, if 43% approve and 16% thinks it doesn't go far enough, that's 59% that's is FOR THE LAW! A MAJORITY WANTS TO KEEP IT!.

    September 27, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  3. JJ

    Ha! So nearly 60% of Americans either support the law or don't think it goes far enough! Why is the Republicant Party blathering on? It's like they're compulsively stupid, and compulsively drawn to the wrong side of history. Believe me, the Democrats are usually a bit of whiney, mealy-mouthed, ineffective sloths ... but compared to the current batch of Republicants, the Dems look like the Founding Fathers to an independent like me!

    September 27, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    The entire right wng is going threw gyrations to stop the implementatoin of the ACA because they know that carefully crafted house of cards and lies that they've peddled is about to come crashing down. This would leave their credibility in tatters. Their credibility could be become forever tainted with the stain of lies of deception.

    If the party survives until 2016, the Republicans will become the party of "trust, but verify". And, they will have one man to thank for aligning the final nails in the coffin and hammering them down. Ted Cruz, the man who not only looks like Joe McCarthy, but Cruz' voice is a spot on match for McCarthy's.

    September 27, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. O'drama ya Mama

    Any law maker who is actively preventing citizens from learning about Obamacare should be removed from office. That is a disservice to the people of the USA.

    September 27, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  6. Tampa Tim

    I wonder if the hundreds of millions of dollars the Koch brothers spent lying to ruin it worked? I wonder if Fox domestic terrorist TV with their 24/7 attack of lies against the ACA had any bearing.

    September 27, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  7. kirk

    Sayin, well my 401 k is making money again, made more in the last two years than ever .dint know how much more failed policies I can take, any more and I'm buying a new boat, so am I to believe that things were better when the gop were in charge? You must have missed the whole half million jobs gone a month thing, or the stock market crash thing, or the big banks needing bailed out? And if course the answer is mitts tax plan, top rate at 1.8%, and close unspecified loopholes, that if course would not be mortgage interest deductions in favor of the ones the rich enjoy, they are taxed so much they can barely make a buck huh? Your ideology is as flawed as your logic

    September 27, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. Rigs

    Well anybody that ever too the time to actually look at the polls instead of just listening to Cruz' BS could have told you that. The "not liberal enough" folks are hardly GOP supporters nor would they vote against dems because of that. Obama won re-election despite ACA, that shows you right there it's not some toxic issue American's hate the dems for.

    September 27, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. kirk

    Let's not forget benghazi, you are obsessed with it, yet lack the ability to acknowledge the similar deaths under the last administration, and you can't relate why you haveczeri credibility, sad really sad actually .one embassy was attacked three times, I can only imagine the vitriol that would come from you if that were Obama, and you completely fail to grasp the deeper meaning if that. need help, that's the deeper issue. Ask yourself despite evidence, you have never lost an debate here huh?

    September 27, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  10. uhhuh

    "26 percent knew not much or nothing at all about the law"

    and you can bet they are among the 34% who strongly disapprove

    September 27, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  11. Fair is Fair

    Wait until the unintended consequences kick in.

    September 27, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  12. Wake up People!

    When the opposing party spends MILLIONS to tell people how bad it is what would one expect? IMO, it doesn't go far enough. But it's a start.

    September 27, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  13. NameShirley martinez

    I'm from a republican family an have been voting democratic for yrs.tired of all the sarah palins& bachmanns, now add Ted Cruz to that list. They should get rid of congress . Don't seem to really work even with one another!

    September 27, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. sonny chapman

    But Mitch McConnell keeps saying "the American people want/don't want this or that" regardless of polling. Isn't he the Oracle of Louisville ? Maybe he means 'the people he HANGS out with like/don't like..."; you know, the Coal Industry, the Koch Bros., those kind of "American People".

    September 27, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  15. Elle

    Yea, and if it’s so great, why did Congress exempt themselves and their aides? Why did the unions that supported it with millions now want an exemption? And, why does the head of the IRS, which has hired thousands of employees to implement this horrible thing, now want out? He acutally went in front of Congress whining like a bi**h about how HE didn’t want it…and let's not forget that the "mandate" has been delayed for O's buddy corporations. The list goes on and on....and I'm a Democrat, just stating some of the facts out there....

    September 27, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. Getoverit

    "Let’s not forget benghazi, you are obsessed with it, yet lack the ability to acknowledge the similar deaths under the last administration"
    The "last administration" didn't lie and blame a YouTube video.

    September 27, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. read5

    Blue Cross Blue Shield Nebraska informed Blome his health care plan will terminate at year's end, and if he wants to move to a similar plan his new premium will go up 65 percent, costing him nearly $4,000 more per year.

    He distinctly remembers President Obama looking into TV cameras and assuring Americans they would be able to keep their doctors, and policies.

    His letter says otherwise.

    "Stupid me, I took the president literally," Blome said.

    Predictions? This is REALITY! THIS IS AFFORDABLE?

    September 27, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  18. Data Driven

    FACT! - "And 26 percent knew not much or nothing at all." Polling on this subject, therefore, is meaningless!

    September 27, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  19. Fair is fair

    Those numbers will go up when it comes out and nobody can afford it. Drink tea not koolaid

    September 27, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Getoverit wrote:

    The "last administration" didn't lie and blame a YouTube video.
    "I don't know where Osama Bin Laden is, and really don't care. [chuckles]" George W. Bush, White House Press Room.

    September 27, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  21. Data Driven


    "Yea, and if it’s so great, why did Congress exempt themselves and their aides? Why did the unions that supported it with millions now want an exemption?"

    No one is exempt from the law. The unions want the law renegotiated; in any case, they're not exempt. There have been fact-check articles on the "exemption" subject all week on this website. Keep up.

    "just stating some of the facts out there...."

    You're not. And I doubt you're a Democrat.

    September 27, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  22. rs

    The "last administration" didn't lie and blame a YouTube video.
    Well, except for the YouTube, I think the whole assertion of going to war for Iraq's WMD was in fact a lie of pretty monsterous proportions. 125,000 innocent Iraqis died.

    September 27, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |