Republicans and conservatives would like you believe that Americans hate Obamacare, but a new poll found that only 34% of those surveyed want Obamacare repealed.
When likely voters were asked in the latest Suffolk University poll whether they thought the Affordable Care Act should be repealed, modified, or left alone, only 34% thought that the law should be repealed. Thirty two percent thought the law should be modified, twenty three percent want the law to be left alone, and eleven percent was undecided. Fifty three percent of respondents said that the healthcare reform law was intended to expand coverage. Eight percent thought the purpose of the law was to control costs and nineteen percent believed that it was supposed to do both. Interestingly, 70% of those surveyed thought the goal of healthcare reform should be to both expand coverage and control costs.
The right argues that Obamacare has made the lives of people worse, but sixty percent of those surveyed said that the healthcare reform law has either made their lives better (20%), or has made no difference (40%). Only 33% of respondents believed that they were worse off because of Obamacare. These numbers are more important in making the argument for healthcare reform than the standard approve/disapprove question that most pollsters use.
These numbers show a country that wants healthcare reform, but the majority of Americans don’t think that the Affordable Care Act has been effective. (A main reason why they think this is because the bulk of the law does not take effect until 2014). The high disapproval rating for health care reform in many polls reflects the success that the Republicans have had in framing the issue, but conservatives would be wise to not confuse messaging success with policy agreement.
A 2011 poll found that 13% of those who have a poor opinion of Obamacare feel that way because they don’t think it goes far enough. Overall when taken with those who support the bill, 56% of Americans wanted the same or a more liberal healthcare reform law. For this reason, a Supreme Court ruling against the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act could provide President Obama with a political opportunity to argue for a better healthcare reform bill.
Polling data consistently demonstrates that those who are most opposed to healthcare reform are already going to vote Republican. Railing against Obamacare is a nice tool for Republicans to use in order to fire up the base, but no matter how the Supreme Court rules, President Obama shouldn’t be politically damaged either way. Much to the disappointment of the GOP, the data indicates that campaigning against healthcare reform is not their path to victory in 2012.
If their recent pattern of extremism holds true, the Republican Party and their Supreme Court enablers may help Barack Obama get reelected by ruling against the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act.