May 11th, 2014
09:00 AM ET
9 years ago

CNN Poll: Should Obamacare be kept or repealed?

Washington (CNN) - A majority of Americans want to keep the federal health care law as is, or make some changes to improve it, according to a new national poll.

But a CNN/ORC International survey released Sunday also indicates public attitudes have been largely unaffected by news that 8 million people have enrolled in health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

Read the full CNN/ORC International results

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Despite a victory lap by the White House following the release of that number, only 12% of Americans surveyed consider the law a success. Nearly half say it’s too soon to tell, and just under four in 10 consider it a failure.

According to the poll, 61% want Congress to leave the Affordable Care Act alone (12%) or make some changes to the law in an attempt to make it work better (49%).

Thirty-eight percent of those questioned say the law should be repealed and replaced with a completely different system (18%) or say the measure should be repealed, with Americans going back to the system in place before the law was implemented (20%).

Two other surveys conducted earlier this year – Kaiser Family Foundation in April and National Public Radio in March – also indicated majority support for keeping and improving the law. Two others, (NBC News/Wall Street Journal in April and ABC News/Washington Post in March), suggested Americans were divided on whether to keep the measure or repeal it.

As expected, there is a wide partisan divide, with nearly nine in 10 Democrats saying the law should be kept as is, or improved. That number drops to 55% among independents and 38% among Republicans. More than six in 10 Republicans want the measure repealed.

"Your feelings about the law are influenced by your station in life," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "There is general support for the law among young people and among people who are approaching retirement age. Support for repeal is higher among people between 35 and 49 years old, and highest among senior citizens, who are roughly split on what Congress should do."

Battle over Obamacare

Opposition to the law, approved in spring 2010 when the Democrats controlled the Senate and the House, was a factor in the Republican wave that November. The GOP took back the House following a historic 63-seat pick up, and trimmed the Democratic majority in the Senate.

The measure was also a major issue in President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election victory over Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Democrats picked up seats in the Senate and House in that election. And the measure is in the spotlight again in this year's midterm elections, as Republicans make their opposition to the law a centerpiece of their campaign.

Last autumn's disastrous roll out of the website was a top story for months. Even though things have improved, the poll indicates 47% say the problems facing the new law will not be solved, with 51% optimistic things will eventually be fixed.

The poll was conducted for CNN on May 2-4 by ORC International, with 1,008 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's for questions regarding the Democratic and GOP presidential nominations is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

soundoff (446 Responses)
  1. Pete

    Posters read about political history how Roosevelt a democrate not only straightened out Hoovers Great Depression but brought you SocialSecurity...Or how LBJ also a democrate gave you Medicare and both were railed against by republicans as handouts,government giveaways ,saying they wouldn't last and would bankrupt a nation..Also if you read it took over two years for the only republican policy in Medicare Part D to work and did democrates rail as republicans did with such negetivity,no way because they saw it would help the people...If you give this ACA bill as Mich time as we did your republicans only Medicare Part D plan you'll see it benefits more than hinders its people..And also remember posters thank your Pres.Reagan with Allan Greenspan that initially stole funds from SocialSecurity to balance the federal budget and that's why SocialSecurity is in such a mess,again thank your republicans for turning a positive into a negetive.....Again if it weren't for democrates you voters would be homeless begging your politicians for their table scraps every night because if you see through their smoke,mirrors they don't care about you the 99% ,only their handlers the 1% that fill their pockets....

    May 11, 2014 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  2. rs

    Republicans simply need to get this. They had a chance to play a significant role is a law that was designed to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of people covered by health insurance. Just like Romneycare did in Massachusetts. They chose instead to play politics with peoples' lives, and failing to stop the law they elected to waste endless millions (more than $65 million on symbolic votes almost half a $billion on hearings, and $150 million on behalf of the Kochs in anti-ACA ads)- so much for their "fiscal sense", eh?
    The law is the law- and it works. Enough silliness. The GOP no longer works for Americans, we all get that. This endless to be useless is what proves the GOP is wrong for America.

    May 11, 2014 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  3. John Rogalski

    On this mornings show would Wasserman ever, ever answer just one question, instead of digressing into other subjects.

    May 11, 2014 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  4. smellferd

    Based on what I see in my own neighborhood I don't see how this is the case. Several families on our street have lost spousal coverage which is costing them big bucks. More than one die hard Obama supporter has commented to me that they went sure what they voted for. I think it is going to be even worse when the rest of the law hits.

    May 11, 2014 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  5. gager

    I don'[t believe the poll. Sounds like nonsense.

    May 11, 2014 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  6. king

    are you serious, their are folks who wants to go back to the way things use to be, like 20 percent rise of insurance premiums yearly, throwing folks off their insurance when they seems to be a risk to the insurance company bottom line, and not getting insured because of previous health problems, where does these folks come from. obamacare is a jobs drawer, which is and will be creating jobs in this country. there are less and less jobs drawer left in this country, for the repubs to take obamacare out of our economy, what will businesses have left to scrounge off. obamacare leaves today, it will take alot of businesses with it, and alot of employees will be in the cold. contrary to the repubs idealist, we need something in this country for businesses to eat off of like food, when you take food out of the economy, businesses will go somewhere else to find food. obamacare is one of the biggest food america has right now.

    May 11, 2014 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  7. Senior

    I am a senior citizen and I am ashamed of my fellow seniors who are rejecting the ACA. It's like they are saying:'I've got my Medicare and to heck with the rest of you."

    May 11, 2014 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  8. justsane

    Support for repeal is highest among senior citizens; in other words, folks on Medicare , a government run health care plan, don't want everyone else to have what they have.

    May 11, 2014 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  9. rude

    Now to hear the delusional spin this story into negative mode.

    May 11, 2014 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  10. WHAT

    This is an extraordinarily confusing way the statistics have been written in this article.

    May 11, 2014 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  11. TJ

    The following sentence makes no sense: "According to the poll, 61% want Congress to leave the Affordable Care Act alone (12%) or make some changes to the law in an attempt to make it work better (49%)" What's the purpose of the (12%) in the sentence?

    May 11, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  12. G_Edwards

    LOL! Not surprising that the media lumps those who want to modify it with those who want to leave it alone to make it sound like a success.

    How about reporting that 87% want to make changes? Period. That's what Repubs have been trying to do – repeal it, replace it, or change it.

    The Dems have been the one's to say "no changes." (Except for those up for re-election, that is.)


    May 11, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  13. Republiker

    The mid-term elections in November will show how inaccurate this poll is.

    May 11, 2014 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  14. Dave

    So ends the Republican 2016 run. Their biggest plank is opposed by the people.

    May 11, 2014 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  15. bpos1969

    Just looked at other polls conducted 05/02/14-05/6/14 that only have a 42% favorable rating and 53% disapproval.

    May 11, 2014 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  16. Joe

    Interesting spin. Most people I talk to think this law was a bad idea. Looks like the poll numbers were cooked. I do agree that the follow parts of the law were good : Pre-existing conditions, no cap and you can keep your kids insured until a later age. The rest of the law should be sent to the trash can.

    They did lie about the law to pass it. The worst of this law is yet to come, but the premium increases have already started. This law will fail and be changed within the next few years, but the damage will already have been done. Keep the parts I mention and get rid of the rest.

    May 11, 2014 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  17. PtBarnumBoy

    Eventually we'll have a single payer system more closely related to those of the rest of the civilized world. Everyone should pay something, it's only right.

    May 11, 2014 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  18. Lizzie

    Senior, you believe Medicare is the greatest, every month your premiums are taken out of your meager SS check which amounts to 10%, should not everyone at least pay 10% for their medical insurance and not as advertised that it is lower then their monthly telephone bill with MORE benefits.

    May 11, 2014 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  19. Claude

    The ultimate effects of "Obamacare" in every aspect will not begin to be known for a couple more years. Republicans sound like idiots while they're screaming for repeal of a law when the final effects of that complex law are not yet known.

    May 11, 2014 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  20. Freedom Storm

    You lie, just like The Ethos of Deceit in the Oval Office.

    May 11, 2014 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  21. deee510

    I vote to keep obamacare. And I would vote for President Obama a 3rd and 4th time if possible.

    May 11, 2014 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  22. Roger

    The results of this poll make no sense. The number of people who think the ACA is a failure outnumbers those who think it's a success nearly 4 to 1, but most people want to keep it? Where are the poll questions? Regardless, the ACA is crony capitalism packaged in thousands of pages of legislation that had to be passed before anyone could read it. It's a cash funnel for corporate interests under the guise of helping the poor. If helping people were truly the goal, then why wasn't Medicare simply expanded to provide transitional covereage for people out of work, people with pre-existing conditions, people in need of expensive care, etc.? The reason is because Medicare has been horribly mismanaged just like Social Security. Instead of fixing that, Obamacare triples down on government meddling and overtakes the entire healthcare industry. Now, when everything goes to hell the bar for good health care will be set so low that when we have to wait 6 months for currently routine procedures the government can say, "if it weren't for us you'd have no health insurance, so deal with it." Congratulations America on another giant leap in failed social policy.

    May 11, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  23. FortyTwoYearOldDad

    Don't worry. Supreme Court will get one more shot to overturn this law. There's a case in the courts right now, that questions the law's Constitutional stance. All bills that raise taxes must originate in the House of Representatives. The ACA originated in the Senate. When the SC made the call that the bill was Constitutional because it wasn't a mandate but a tax, it did not consider the Origination Clause. George Will recently outlined a case on the way to the courts now that overturns ACA based upon that.

    May 11, 2014 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  24. militaryvet

    Thanks to the ACA my adult children finally have healthcare coverage of their own, that they can afford to pay for...and without death panles, or the loss of their jobs, etc...anyone who is against the ACA noiw has to be nuts. We now have more people with helathcare coverage...and they are paying for it! I will never vote GOP again, they lied over and over about the ACA, I'm ashamed to think that I, and other folks like me, ever believed them.

    May 11, 2014 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  25. southerninsanity

    We'll see how these numbers look when they start cancelling perfectly good corporate plans next year, forcing even more people to higher premiums and higher deductibles.

    May 11, 2014 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
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