July 23rd, 2014
06:00 AM ET
6 years ago

CNN Poll: Is Obamacare working?

Washington (CNN) - More than half the public says Obamacare has helped either their families or others across the country, although less than one in five Americans say they have personally benefited from the health care law, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/ORC International survey also indicates that a majority of Americans oppose the Affordable Care Act, but that some of that opposition is from people who don't think the measure goes far enough.

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The poll, conducted this past weekend, was released on Wednesday, one day after a federal appeals court upheld Obamacare tax subsidies. That ruling came just a couple of hours after a separate appeals court struck down such subsidies for the millions of Americans enrolled in the federal government's HealthCare.gov exchange.

Appeals courts differ on Obamacare; Supreme Court case likely

According to the poll, only 18% of the public say they or their families are better off now that the major provisions of the health care law have been implemented. Another 35% report that, while their lives have not improved, the Affordable Care Act has benefited other people in the U.S. Add those two numbers together, and that means 53% say that Obamacare has helped either their families or others across the country.

Forty-four percent tell us that the health care law has not helped anyone in the country.

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According to the poll, 40% of Americans say they support the health care law, basically unchanged from March but up from 35% in December, which was a record low in CNN polling. Fifty-nine percent of those questioned say they oppose the measure, down five points from December.

"Not all of the opposition to the health care law comes from the right," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Thirty-eight percent say they oppose the law because it's too liberal, but 17% say they oppose it because it's not liberal enough. That means more than half the public either favors Obamacare, or opposes it because it doesn't go far enough."

As expected, the poll indicates a continued wide partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans over the law and whether it’s working.

Political battle over Obamacare

The measure was passed into law in 2010, when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. The law, considered President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement, was a major issue in 2010 and 2012, and is again in 2014, as many Republicans continue to call for Obamacare to be repealed and replaced.

While the Obamacare website suffered a disastrous rollout last autumn, things have improved. Major flaws with HealthCare.gov were addressed and major gains in enrollment were made.

But Republicans continue to keep their midterm campaign focus on the health care law. Earlier this month House Speaker John Boehner made Obamacare the focus of his lawsuit against the President.

Republicans to sue Obama over health law

The GOP obsession with the health care law may be smart politics: Midterm electorates are smaller than those of presidential elections, and the contests are often all about getting out base voters–and the GOP base continues to hate Obamacare.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International from July 18-20, with 1,012 adult Americans 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.

soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. southerngent

    A total of 1,012 polled. " Among the entire sample, 32% described themselves as Democrats, 24% described themselves as Republicans, and 44% described themselves as Independents or members of another party"

    32 out of 100 are democrat
    24 out of 100 are republican
    44 out of 100 are independent

    So, let's say all democrats agree that obamacare works well.
    So, let's say all republicans disagree that obamacare works well.
    So, let's say that half of independents and other political affiliations agree that obamacare works well.
    So, let's say that half of independents and other political affiliations disagree that obamacare works well.

    32 + 22 = 54 agree obamacare works well.
    24 + 22 = 46 disagree obamacare works well.

    Control Value
    54% agree that obamacare works well.
    46% disagree that obamacare works well.

    As a control value for determining fairness this "poll" already appears left leaning.
    Also, how many were on or have families on obamacare and receiving subsidies?

    July 23, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  2. melanieb.

    It is only helping the ones who do not work do not pay taxes and have nothing. For the majority of us it is not working! We have lost insurance coverage, lost insurance, lost doctors, hospitals and the ones who still have insurance the premiums have tripled and most of us cannot afford.

    July 23, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  3. Ned Racine

    The Affordable Care Act could be better. We could eliminate insurance companies all together, but conservatives (all Republicans, and some Democrats) are too busy protecting these companies to care about what is best for we, the people. As long as we have insurance companies involved in the healthcare system, we will continue to pay too much for healthcare.

    July 23, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  4. Rick

    Still nearly 60% oppose. Democrats pushed through a law that the people didn't want. And Democrats will pay dearly in November.

    July 23, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  5. alan sinclair

    We could have given healthcare to those who where uninsured much more simply and with less disruption to those who had healthcare plans they were happy with.

    July 23, 2014 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  6. Pied Piper

    It's helped me, it's helping others, it will eventually help us all. Why wouldn't we all want each other to feel well and to strengthen our collective unity?

    July 23, 2014 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  7. Jdc

    And of those polled, how many know what they're talking about, or just spouted of tea Billie or progressive propaganda? You forgot that metric.

    July 23, 2014 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  8. DarqueSide

    So 40% say it's good and has helped people. An additional 17% say it didn't go far enough. That makes 57% who want this law (or something like it). Congress needs to drop the 'repeal' efforts and work to fix and/or expand the existing law.

    July 23, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  9. PJ

    "According to the poll, only 18% of the public say they or their families are better off now that the major provisions of the health care law have been implemented. Another 35% report that, while their lives have not improved, the Affordable Care Act has benefited other people in the U.S. Add those two numbers together, and that means 53% say that Obamacare has helped either their families or others across the country."

    What a joke.

    When you have to add together responses from questions and then combine the result with your own interpretation of "this means that this many people say this..." You are beyond desperate.

    If you want to be fair 82% said it did not help their families and 44% said it helped no one in the U.S., that means that 146% said that it didn't help them or anybody else. See how twisting the data to fit an agenda works?

    July 23, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  10. PJ

    That should have been 126%, in my previous post.

    July 23, 2014 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  11. sjakek

    So, to clarify:
    57% either approve of the ACA or want it to be more liberal
    42% disapprove of the ACA and want a more conservative system in place, 1% is undecided

    53% say the law has helped them or other people
    44% say it's helped "no one"

    The President's approval rating is 42-43%; the SCOTUS's approval rating is at an all-time low, and so is Congress's approval rating, now down to 8%. Why is THIS the thing we're trying to fix? No matter how you spin it, it seems a lot less broken than everything else in the system.

    July 23, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  12. Rosie

    It looks as though the conservatives and independents will have to dispose of this horrible ACA when THEY get into office – the Dems just cannot see how terribly ugly this law is....

    July 23, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  13. Pied Piper

    You want to take back my Obamacare? You'll have to pry it from my warm, healthy hands.

    July 23, 2014 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  14. John Li

    As CNN reports, the NSA can skew the poll results...Hmmm....

    July 23, 2014 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  15. Paul Romano

    Question – why would you oppose the Health Care Law? More than likely it doesn't affect you, other than what Rush Limbaugh tells you it does, meaning higher costs. But the costs of health care have been doing nothing but skyrocketing for over 10 years. How can you tell if it's Obama Care or just the doctors and insurance companies ripping you off further? Also it was meant to assist the 20% or so who DID NOT HAVE INSURANCE! These were people with pre-existing conditions, etc who could never afford insurance, well now they can. It is still not cheap for them, but doable. What were we going to do, just keep going on where a lot of people can't afford insurance who just go to the emergency room? Is that the long term solution? People just don't think I am sorry to say.

    July 23, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  16. John Curtis

    More CNN polls protecting the anointed one. Take care of your man at all costs. When CNN does a poll....you can be guaranteed that it will favor their savior. Only MSNBC loves Obama more than CNN. Trash is all you put out.

    July 23, 2014 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  17. Silence DoGood

    Hopefully this will debunk all the right wing talking heads that are claiming "no one" wants the ACA. One by one the myths have gone down, from death panels to arrests for not signing up to numbers of new insured people.

    I fully well expect though, with tin foil firmly in place, that there will be claims of a vast government conspiracy that no one can see that is beaming mind rays into CNN headquarters to make them change the poll data.

    July 23, 2014 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  18. ge

    universal heath care like other civilized nations

    July 23, 2014 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  19. Rick C.

    Those figures fall in line partisan thought, completely ignoring the original question, 'is the AHC benefitting you or someone you know'. You won't get an honest answer, ever.

    July 23, 2014 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  20. mutantsubhuman

    The pollsters are just getting better at identifying those that make their point.

    July 23, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  21. Todd

    The article seems to indicate that the the 53% conclusion is flawed: You can only add the two percentages together as you have if, the "were you helped" question is adked first and then only the negative respondants are asked a follow-up question "do you know anyone..." Otherwise, an person who perceives himself to be better off, and who knows somone is counted twice, making the 53% conclusion an inaccurately inflated conclusion.

    July 23, 2014 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  22. Doc Ray

    There is only one party that opposes healthcare coverage for millions of people.
    There is only one party that rejoices every time a court ruling come out that might jeopardize health coverage for millions.
    There is only one party which works hard to deny access to not only healthcare but decent wages for the working class, education and employment opportunities for the poor and people of color, and equality for the LGBT and women.

    That is the Geriatric Ogre Party.

    July 23, 2014 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  23. Gurgyl

    -the most irresponsible is looting this nation to have sent to Wars on WMD by georgeW, not nation having healthcare to all. O.k.

    July 23, 2014 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  24. S.B. Stein

    If there is a better alternative, that should be worked out before it is put into place. At this point, there is no alternative. Until there is one, we need to responsibly fix this where we can and plan for what is going to be needed.

    I really have to wonder what the GOP/teapublicans/conservatives want as an alternative. Is there something that they want done differently than their idea? At least it was before Obama had it put into the ACA.

    July 23, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  25. Tommy G

    Obamacare is not and has not been implemented as the law required. The disaster of Obamacare was STOPPED by Obama with numerous delays and changes, unlawful delays and changes. To ask right now is deceitful because the worse parts of it are yet to come. Obama delayed them so the Democrats wouldn't get totally slaughtered this November. But you can be sure, the disaster called Obamacare is by no means over.

    July 23, 2014 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
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