Download PDF Few pieces of contemporary legislation have received as much scrutiny and attention as the Affordable Care Act. Few have been as divisive. This document makes it possible to see eight major pollster’s trends on the bill and the law. For each pollster, opinions on the law have fluctuated in a narrow range, but they have been more negative than positive recently.
Polls on President Obama’s handling of health care generally show more negative than positive views. Democrats have lost considerable ground on whether they or Republicans in Congress would better handle the issue. NBC/WSJ shows Democrats with an 8 point advantage, down from a 16 point advantage in February. Pew shows Republicans up one point on handling health care.
The economy and jobs are still the top issues of concern to Americans, but health care often ranks third in terms of concern. However, the tone of the public’s concern has changed. Recent polls show a shift in opinions concerning the presumed impact of the bill on the country as a whole. In September 2012, a plurality said the country would be better off under the Obama health care plan. Now, a plurality thinks it would be worse off. People have been more skeptical about the impact on their families for some time. Currently, 24 percent think they would be better off, 37 percent thought there would be no difference, and 32 percent think they will be worse off under the law.
As for what to do with the law now, a four-part question from CBS News shows opinions tilt mostly toward repealing the law entirely (39 percent), followed by repealing the mandate (18 percent). Sixteen percent prefer to keep the law in place and, 20 percent wanted to expand it. Kaiser asks if people support defunding the law. Thirty-seven percent supported defunding in their September poll.
Full wording of the questions at the beginning of the document appear on pages 13 and 14.