Public Opinion and the Health Care Reform Law

Speaking of possible expectations-driven effects of Obamacare, CNN/ORC just released new public opinion results taking the temperature of Americans on the new health care law:

“As you may know, a bill that makes major changes to the country’s health care system became law in 2010. Based on what you have read or heard about that legislation, do you favor all of the proposals in that law, favor most of them, oppose most of them, or oppose all of them?”

September 6-8


January 14-15


January 14-16


Favor All




Favor Most




Oppose Most




Oppose All




No Opinion




So it looks like combined support for Obamacare went from 45% (2011) to 51% (beginning of 2013) to 39% (just last week).

Meanwhile, combined opposition went from 50% to 44% to 57% over the same period. Anybody got any ideas what to make of this pattern?




5 thoughts on “Public Opinion and the Health Care Reform Law

  1. I believe this pattern is unsurprising given that in May President Obama delayed a major component of Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act. In doing so, I believe he was basically stating that other issues at this time are more important than health care and he sees issues with the Act’s implementation. When the President delays his own championed legislation, that he so heavily campaigned on during his Presidential runs and in Congress, it signals a vote of no confidence by him. American,s in this poll, follow a similar suit and thus, voted less confidence in the law.

    • Helen, I think voters tend to have an appreciation for process and the orderly administration of law. Many would support what they view as legitimate legislative reworking of the law, but tend to be suspicious of efforts to short-circuit a duly enacted law, especially when there is still a great deal of uncertainty about the actual effects of the changes it brings. I think it would take a level of opposition much higher in intensity than we have seen before you saw voters pushing to short circuit legislative process through budget manipulations. I say this with some irony considering controversial overhauls like the PPACA have been enacted through what one congressional scholar has called “unorthodox lawmaking”–i.e., using the reconciliation procedure to avoid the 60-vote threshold in the Senate (See Sinclair’s Unorthodox Lawmaking (2012, 186-234)).

      Kaiser’s Survey is consistent on this point. They report that:
      “The most commonly chosen reason for opposition to defunding the ACA is that ‘using the budget process to stop a law is not the way our government should work,’ (named as a major reason by 69 percent in this group), followed by a belief that ‘without funding the law will be crippled and won’t work as planned,’ (56 percent) and feeling that the law will be ‘a good thing for the country’ (49 percent). Fewer (35 percent) say their main reason for opposing defunding efforts is that they’ve ‘heard enough about the health care law and it’s time to move on to something else.'”

      Hope that helps.

  2. I think that many people feel more strongly about issues that are new and have more importance at the moment. For instance this past week there has been many other new and important issues that have risen to the public’s eyes, such as the Navy shooting, Colorado flooding, and our own problems of racal segregation on campus. then you have to add the fact that many people have there own problems and responsibilities they have to do everyday, and when you ask them about a subject that has been looming around for the past three years, and on top of that there hearing about other news that is also tragic and more recent. So when asked about the bill the support for it is probably down just because of all the other important things that have been going on. I also think people are frustrated, because the republicans keep trying to keep it from initiating and the fact that it has been in the making and passed for three years now and nothing has occurred from it.

  3. Pingback: Obamacare and Brinksmanship | Economics & Institutions

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s