Poll: ObamaCare Still a Huge Issue for Voters this Fall

By Grace Marie-Turner

Grace-Marie Turner, President, Galen Institute

The latest New York Times / CBS News poll dives into public opinion on ObamaCare following the Supreme Court decision and finds opposition to the law virtually unchanged from when it was enacted in 2010, with about half disapproving and one-third supporting the law.

And those who strongly disapprove (36 percent) continue to significantly outnumber those who strongly approve (14 percent) of the law.

Support for repeal also remains strong: 61 percent of those polled say they want Congress to repeal the individual mandate (27 percent) or the entire law (34 percent). Only 15 percent want to keep the law as it is.

The poll was taken July 11 through 16. Other highlights:

Health care is a top issue for the voters. Eighty-two percent say that health care will be an extremely important (46 percent) or very important (36 percent) issue for them in deciding their vote for president in November.

Opposition to the law remains high. Overall, 50 percent either somewhat or strongly disapprove of the health law, and 36 percent approve.

Romney preferred. For those who say the Supreme Court ruling will impact their vote, 24 percent say they will vote for (presumed Republican nominee Mitt) Romney and 16 percent for Obama.   Half said the SCOTUS decision won’t have much effect.

Split on who will do a better job. Regardless of how they intend to vote, people are evenly split in who they think would do a better job of handling health care:  President Obama 43 percent and Mitt Romney 42 percent.

Puzzling plurality. A plurality also says that the Supreme Court did a good thing in keeping the law in place: 46 percent say it was a “good thing” and 41 percent said it was a “bad thing.” Maybe these voters believe it is the job of Congress to fix the mess.

One notable fact about the poll is the over-sampling of Democrats, presumably to match their greater turnout in the 2008 elections. Democrats represented 32 percent of those polled in the New York Times / CBS News poll compared to just 25 percent of Republicans. Independents represented 37 percent of the sample.

This, coupled with the intensity factor, suggests that President Obama and down-ballot candidates will be in trouble if the balance shifts to greater turnout of Republicans in 2012 and the focus stays on ObamaCare.

(Grace-Marie Turner is President of the Galen Institute in Alexandria, Virginia.  She is scheduled to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court’s federal health law decision at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s third annual Legislative Briefing on Friday, September 21.  This article was originally published by National Review Online.) 

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