Friday, March 14, 2014

Do Americans Really Want Obamacare Repealed ?

The Republicans still think they can run their campaigns this year on the issue of opposing Obamacare, and the way the media is reporting on health care reform, you might think that is viable. Look at the chart above, which shows the question most asked and reported on by the media -- Do you support or oppose Obamacare? If that is the only question asked, then it is easy to see why the Republicans feel comfortable running as opposing Obamacare.

But the question is more complicated than that. Not everyone that says they oppose Obamacare wants to see it repealed. CNN asked the question a different way, and the results show something quite different. They asked of those who said they opposed Obamacare whether they opposed it because it was too liberal, or whether they opposed it because it wasn't liberal enough (didn't go far enough in fixing the health care system). Those results are shown in the chart below.

That looks very different doesn't it. It turns out that those who support Obamacare have an equal percentage to those who oppose it because it is too liberal (the Republican view). Another 12 % don't think Obamacare wasn't liberal enough (didn't go far enough). These people, and this is the group I'm in, don't want Obamacare repealed unless it is replaced by a much more extensive system (like a single-payer government-run system similar to Medicare-for-all). They do NOT support the Republican effort to just repeal Obamacare. If you ask a slightly different question -- Do you want Obamacare repealed? -- you'll find that these people would join those who support Obamacare in saying NO. They want Obamacare improved, not repealed.

So, do a majority of Americans want Obamacare repealed. No, a majority would oppose that. They would say it should be kept and improved (51% to 39%). Note in the bottom chart (showing the demographic breakdown) that only one group favors repealing Obamacare (the Republicans). Whites and Independents are split equally on the question, and all other groups would prefer it not be repealed (but kept and improved).

The Republicans can run on this issue if they want to (and I hope they do), but they will just be appealing to a 39% minority of the public -- and as more people get signed up for insurance in the coming months, that 39% will shrink. Running against Obamacare is simply not a good strategy. Obamacare is here to stay, and the public in this country knows it. They are now getting ready to start talking about how we can improve it -- not repeal it.

The CNN / ORC Poll was done between March 7th and 9th of 801 adults Americans, with a margin of error of 3.5 points.


Bloomberg News conducted their own poll on this issue (questioning 1,001 nationwide adults between March 7th and 10th, with a 3.1 point margin of error) -- and they asked the right question. They asked whether Obamacare should be repealed, and they got the same answer that CNN got -- that it should NOT be repealed. In fact, their poll was even more definitive, with 64% saying we should keep Obamacare (and make small changes if needed). Only 34% want it repealed.

They also asked about some individual aspects of Obamacare, and they found only one where the desire to repeal was more than to keep it. That was the individual mandate to buy insurance -- and even that has been reduced substantially as more people buy insurance and find it is cheaper and better than they expected. Only 51% said they wanted it repealed, while 47% said they wanted to keep it.

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