Six charts to explain health-care polling

Pollsters have asked Americans hundreds of questions about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in recent years. You can boil down all of that data into six charts — and we do just that below. Enjoy!

1. Law never gained majority support

Fewer than half of Americans have supported the law in every major poll since its passage. A significant portion of this opposition comes from those who say the law did not go far enough in changing the U.S. health-care system. Looked at another way, the law has been tarred and feathered from the left and the right.

2. Partisanship reigned from day one


(Kaiser Family Foundation tracking polls)

3. Individual mandate is a clunker, the rest of law is popular


4. Knowledge lacking, rumors persist

The Affordable Care Act is a complicated piece of legislation, but as the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Drew Altman pointed out last summer, most people agree it will help people who are currently uninsured. But Kaiser’s polling finds only three in 10 uninsured Americans ages 18 to 64 think it will help their situation.


(Kaiser Family Foundation poll, August 2011)

5. Most people won’t be happy


The high court’s ability to lead is also in question: Just 40 percent of the public in an April Post-ABC poll said they expect the Court to rule on the basis of the law while 50 percent thought they would rely on partisan political views. The Court’s favorability ratings also hit a quarter-century low this year, according to Pew.

6. Health care is clearly a second tier voting issue in 2012


Scott Clement is a survey research analyst for The Washington Post. Scott specializes in public opinion about politics, election campaigns and public policy.

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