Most Americans say their views of the controversial 2010 health care law — and of the Supreme Court itself — are unmoved by last week’s showdown at the high court, according to a new poll by the Washington Post and the Pew Research Center. But the three days of arguments also sliced into public attitudes about the law and the court, with positions hardening along partisan lines.
More than six in 10 Americans say their opinions have not changed on either the law or the court, but more say their views of each deteriorated than say they’ve improved. And pre-existing views have been bolstered: Nearly four in 10 conservative Republicans — consistent detractors of the Obama administration’s reform efforts — say they like the law even less than they did before. By contrast, far more liberal Democrats say they now see the conservative-led court more negatively than say they think better of it.
Political independents tilt more negatively on both the health law and the Supreme Court after last week’s oral arguments. More than a quarter of independents - 27 percent - are less favorable toward the health law than before, while 6 percent are more favorable.
Americans who followed the hearings closest report the largest shifts in opinion, with many recoiling from both the Supreme Court and the health law. About a third of those who followed the hearings “very closely” now think less of the health care law, while nearly as many report souring on the Court itself.
The partisan divide is also starkest among those who paid most attention. Almost four in 10 Republicans who followed the hearings “very” or “somewhat” closely say they are less favorable toward the health care law. The same number of attentive Democrats — 39 percent — say they now have lower regard for the Supreme Court.
The poll was conducted March 28 to April 1 among a random national sample of 1,000 adults, including users of both conventional and cellular phones. The results from the survey have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points. The margin of error is higher for subgroups.