Poll suggests Obamacare could have cost Obama second term
November 19th, 2013
12:52 PM ET
9 years ago

Poll suggests Obamacare could have cost Obama second term

Updated 11/19/2013 at 1:33 p.m. ET

Washington (CNN) - If you need any more evidence that the disastrous roll out of the new health care law is taking a toll on President Barack Obama's plunging approval ratings, a new survey provides the proof.

And an ABC News/Washington Post poll also suggests that if the 2012 presidential election between the President and GOP challenger Mitt Romney were held today, Romney would hold a slight lead in the popular vote.

Obama's approval rating stands at 42% in the survey, which was released early Tuesday. That's down six percentage points from a month ago and ties an all-time low for Obama in ABC News/Washington Post polling. And the President's disapproval rating among Americans stands at 55%, up six points from mid-October and an all-time high in ABC News/Washington Post surveys.

Obama's approval rating has now reached new lows or tied his historic lows in polls released over the past three weeks from ABC News/Washington Post, Quinnipiac University, National Journal Heartland Monitor, and NBC News/Wall Street Journal. And his numbers are nearing where his predecessor, George W. Bush, stood at this time in his second term.

A CNN Poll of Polls, compiled and released Tuesday, that averages the six most recent non-partisan live operator national surveys on the President's approval rating puts Obama's approval at 40% and his disapproval at 54%.

"Approval ratings for Obama and George W. Bush have followed the same pattern in their second terms for completely different reasons. For Bush, a natural disaster and an unpopular war were the primary reasons why his approval rating dropped to 41% in October 2005 and to 37% in November of that year," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.

Support for Obamacare drops

The flawed startup of HealthCare.gov and the controversy over millions of Americans being told they will lose their current insurance plans because they don't meet the new law's requirements is fueling a drop in support for the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Just four in 10 questioned in the ABC News/Washington Post poll say they approve of the new health care law and 57% oppose it. A month ago support stood at 46% with 49% opposed.

And disapproval of how Obama handled the health care law's implementation has also surged, from 53% last month to 63% now. Only a third of the public gives Obama a thumbs-up on how he's handled the roll out of the law.

More than seven in 10 say the problems with the health care website are serious enough that the government should delay the requirement that all individuals have health insurance or face fines. And the public's divided on whether the government can recover from the massive problems implementing the new law or that the problems are a sign the measure is unworkable.

Would Romney win?

What if the 2012 presidential election were held today instead of just over a year ago. Forty-seven percent of people questioned in the poll say that they would vote for Obama, with an equal amount saying they would cast a ballot for Romney. Among the narrower pool of registered voters, Romney has a slight 49%-45% edge.

The President topped Romney 51%-47% last November to win a second term in the White House.
The poll doesn't mean that Romney would win if the election were held today, of course - the race for the White House is not a battle for the popular vote, but rather a contest for the states and their electoral votes.

Obama taking a personal hit

When it comes to his polling, the president's personal numbers have always been his saving grace, but a number of controversies this year, from the NSA to the IRS, compounded by the health care woes, are wearing away at Obama's standing.

For the first time in ABC News/Washington Post polling, a slight majority (52%) have an unfavorable view of the President. He's also underwater when it comes to his favorability in a couple of other new polls. That's a big change from the beginning of the year, when his favorable ratings were hovering at or near 60% in some surveys.

"There's been times where I thought we were slapped around a little bit unjustly - this one is deserved," Obama said Thursday during a news conference on the health care woes.

And he acknowledged his personal attributes have taken a hit, saying, "I think it's legitimate for them to expect for me to have to win back some credibility on this health care law in particular and on a whole range of these issues in general."

Fifty-percent of those questioned in the ABC News/Washington Post poll say the President isn't honest and trustworthy, similar to findings in last week's Quinnipiac survey. And he's also underwater when it comes to leadership and empathy.

And in another sign of how Obamacare's hurting Obama's poll numbers,only 41% say they consider the President a good manager.

One of the few silver linings in the survey: On the "you can keep your plan" controversy, people were asked whether they thought that the President told the public what he believed to be true or that he intentionally misled. By 52%-44%, Americans say they think Obama told people what he thought was correct at the time.

Indicators for 2014

Next November all 435 seats in the House and more than a third of the Senate are up for grabs. The Democrats currently hold a 55-45 advantage in the Senate and the GOP holds a 17-seat advantage in the House.

The president last week acknowledged that the health care roll out could hurt his party at the ballot box in 2014, saying, "There is no doubt that our failure to roll out the ACA smoothly has put a burden on Democrats, whether they are running or not."

And the poll agrees. Thirty-seven percent say a candidate's support for the health care law would make them less likely to back that candidate, with 21% saying they'd be more likely to support that candidate. Four in 10 said it wouldn't matter.

The poll's release comes four days after 39 House Democrats broke party ranks and voted for a GOP bill that would alter the health care law, another sign of the concerns of some in the President's party who could face challenging re-elections next year.

And for only the second time in ABC/Washington Post polling, the public's divided on whether Obama's views on most issues are too liberal or just right. The last time that Americans felt that was was two months before the 2010 midterm elections, when the GOP made an historic 63-seat pickup in the House to reclaim control of the chamber.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Obamacare • President Obama
soundoff (223 Responses)
  1. Bill

    I blame the press as much as I blame Obama and the Democrats. If they had done their job we wouldn't be facing this disaster.

    November 19, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. icu

    really dude....
    who cares

    November 19, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  3. Malory Archer


    Stupid what if stroy. The only way Obama won in the first place is they cheated at the polls.



    November 19, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. lauradet

    I am still signing up for the ACA, I was just waiting for all the bugs to be worked out.

    November 19, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  5. perry

    The correct approval rating for Obama is 47%. This reflects all people on welfare. Welfare recipients love Obama, the more freebies the merrier.

    November 19, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  6. BobW

    who cares what the rollout of this disaster is causing with Obamas poll numbers. Should be more concerned about what this disaster is going to cost America.

    November 19, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  7. Never Gone' Happen MittensRobme

    The POLLS said Mitt Robme was Winning...............FLORIDA, OHIO, VIRGINIA, WISCONSIN, YOU NAME IT...

    KARL ROVE with his CHALK BOARD was predicting a blowout in FAUX NEWS

    Remember, Dick Morris....it was a MASSIVE BLOWOUT prediction by this FAUX NEWS numbskull

    How about the ALMIGHTY GALLUP POLL?...they had Mitt Robme leading by 7% percentage point to win in a LANDSLIDE

    Sean Hannity couldn't contain himself with seeing Obama defeated with his rag-tag conservatives live audience pollsters.............but ALL came to nought!!!


    Keep dreaming TeaParty Heads & CNN'ners...if Obama could run for a 3rd term against Mitt Robme, even with ObamaCare....it will still be a LANDSLIDE VICTORY!!!!!!

    November 19, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  8. Malory Archer

    Anthony Talbert

    It is amazing how CNN tries to spin things for Mr. Obama. 49 – 45% of registered voters would favor Romney right now but, of course, according to CNN that doesn't mean that Romney would win. Because of the electoral college. Indeed, true, but not really the important thing, is it? The important point is the rather significant switch from Obama to Romney.


    LOL – Your comments might have merit if not for the fact that the pollsters responsible for this poll had the 2012 also ran winning by a landslide.

    November 19, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  9. current state of the union

    Polls show, polls don't mean much

    November 19, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. Gunderson

    I see some of ye are calling detractors of this disaster names. Sticks and Stones will break me bones but names will never harm me. But it shows where your credibility is. You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. Obama is just about thru. and "Dummy" Care is headed for the Bone Yard.

    November 19, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  11. DBrenner00

    If one were to listen to Oprah or professors from Harvard this is all due to racism.

    November 19, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  12. carlos

    Maybe if we make the govt. bigger, and give them more power over our personal lives, they can fix the all the messes they create. Basically, if big govt. doesn't work, then we must need huge govt.

    BTW, do all dominican mamas have the intellect of a 6 year old? Or just the smart ones?

    November 19, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  13. steve

    Listen to all the stupid libs still trying to polish this turd. Should have listened to the Republicans and everyone else on the right. 2014 will be a great year for the Tea Party.

    November 19, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "What's most amazing to me is that 36% of Americans are happy to very happy with the rollout of Obamacare.

    15% of americans think elvis is still alive. not sure how to explain the remaining 21%. oh wait! those are all the people signing up for free medicaid healthcare."

    Even funnier (and truer): a large majority of GOPers/Teatrolls polled as blaming Obama for the terrible response to Katrina. You guys don't know your elbows from a dog turd.

    November 19, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  15. Mike in San Diego

    My family voted for Obama, and our lives are pretty good. Then again, we don't blame the government anytime we have a personal setback or things don't go our way.


    Right, you just depend on government to provide everything for you. Soon the other failings of Obamacare will become clear – the Insurance Industry is going to need a bail out as he jury-rigs the law willy-nilly, the economy is going to further slow as the employer mandate kicks in and companies down size and go "part time" workers. There is a reason Obama's ratings are down – it's because he backed a poorly thought out and even worse implemented law.

    November 19, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  16. seanster77

    Either you are oblivious to the reality of the failure of this law, or you are just never willing to be honest about Obama as a complete failure. Both are failures completely. The acronym is ACA or Affordable Care Act, and the last thing this is would be affordable. It is coming out today that the entire administration knew very well the current situation and millions upon millions of cancellations would occur. They knew the website to be a failure. That didn't matter as the liar in chief is only interested in creating a failed insurance market and trotting out a single payer system. Socialism baby Socialism.

    November 19, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  17. mike proctor

    I have faith in President Obama to get this problem working because it to important for the American people not too. Everyone need to shut the hell up about the problems to get this program running correctly because it a big operation (50 million people) to think there are not going to be missteps in the program. We need this program in this Country and I'm to wait for the bugs to be worked out just like social security. If the republicans/tea baggers weren't such ass hole and worked together with the President this problem would be over less than a year. I bet there is no company in the world who would not have the same problems if they put together such a program. This does show that America do not have educated people in the computer field to put this program together without any problems. Also in reference to the statement that we can keep our insurance/Doctors by the President I believe he has no idea the Insurance Company would drop so many at one time but my son-in-law tell me that his company are telling the employee to find a new insurance in the exchange and this is a company that have over 100,000 employee so see no one are going by the rules.

    November 19, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  18. Beau

    "What if the 2012 presidential election were held today instead of just over a year ago. Forty-seven percent of people questioned in the poll say that they would vote for Obama, with an equal amount saying they would cast a ballot for Romney."

    Wow Romney was right when he made that comment about the 47% ( :

    November 19, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  19. Wilson

    @The REAL Truth...

    @betterdays – We are going to speak out about every ill-conceived move our current president makes, and guess what: The press is finally joining in now too.
    yawn... the right sounds like a stuck record.. rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat.. sigh.
    The right has attacked, blocked, filibustered and done ALL in their power to trash this POTUS. He's not worse than any other, and the constant bickering in DC is old.. real old!! Instead of the constant fingerpointing, contact your GOP rep in DC and tell them to get off their azz and STOP DESTROYING THE COUNTRY.. WE DON'T CARE THAT YOU HATE OBAMA.. he's here for the next 3 yrs.. GET OVER IT... MOVE THE COUNTRY FORWARD!!
    The GOP is doing what they were elected to do. Slow/Stop as much of the country damaging policies coming out of this administration as they can. To my mind they are not doing as good a job as they should be.

    November 19, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  20. Diogenes

    For you Obama lovers talking about a third term, read the 22nd ammendment.

    November 19, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  21. G D

    Maybe the GOP could learn a lesson; Obama is ineffective, but the majority of voters still thought that better than what the GOP offered up. The GOP needs to get back to inclusiveness, respect for alternative opinions, and stop trying to legislate a morality that they don't live by. Wow, sounds kind of like Reagan, doesn't it?

    November 19, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  22. Tiffany Young

    If CNN and the media were reporting the news such as this article BEFORE the elections, things might have been different!

    November 19, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  23. Dan

    I hope these fools who voted for Obama and are now saying they would vote for Romney are the ones who lost their insurance

    November 19, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
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