Health mandate support hinges on fines - The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will hear a challenge to the health-care overhaul act passed in 2010 on the so-called individual mandate, which requires almost all Americans to have health insurance or pay a fine. A CNN poll released Monday finds a 52 percent majority of Americans supporting the law’s provision that “all Americans who do not have health insurance get it,” up from 44 percent in June. But polls that explicitly mention a “fine” show much lower support for the mandate.

Two-thirds of respondents wanted to repeal the mandate that Americans have health insurance by 2014 “or pay a fine” in a March Kaiser Family Foundation poll, while just 27 percent preferred to keep that part of the law. By comparison, more than twice as many supported other parts of the law, including Medicare payroll tax increases on the wealthy and closing the Medicare “doughnut hole.” Closer to the Supreme Court’s task, more than eight in 10 said the federal government “should not have the power to require all Americans to buy health insurance” in an August Associated Press-National Constitution Center poll.

The law’s popularity overall seems to be on the wane. Kaiser tracked a seven-point drop in favorable views of the health care law to 34 percent in October, the lowest in polls since it was passed.

Gingrich surges, Cain plummets- Newt Gingrich has surged into the top tier of candidates vying for the 2012 Republican nomination according to a trio of national polls conducted last week. The former House Speaker charged from 8 to 22 percent in a CNN poll of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents released Monday (compared with 24 percent for Mitt Romney and 14 percent for Herman Cain). He also earns 19 percent in a McClatchy-Marist poll released Friday (compared to 23 percent for Mitt Romney and 17 percent for Herman Cain), and 15 percent in a poll of potential Republican primary voters by CBS News released Friday (compared with 15 percent for Romney and 18 percent for Cain).

The CNN poll tracks an 11-point drop in Cain’s support from mid-October and CBS finds a seven-point drop over the same time period, including a 13-point drop among women, the first high quality surveys to mark such a change following allegations that Cain sexually harassed female coworkers in the 1990s. Cain’s falloff comes even as most Republicans – and 71 percent of tea party supporters – say the allegations make no difference in their vote. Those who do say it will make a difference – about one in three primary voters – overwhelmingly say they are less likely to support him. 

What supercommittee? Just over a week away from a deadline to agree on $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts, half of likely 2012 voters say they’re “not at all familiar” with the debt supercommittee’s work, according to a Politico/George Washington University poll released Monday. Almost three-quarters of adults in an October Post-ABC poll said it was unlikely that Democrats and Republicans in Congress will agree on a deficit reduction plan, and 57 percent opposed the automatic cuts to domestic and military programs that would results. The Politico poll found a heavy majority backing higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations (66 percent), but much lower support for cutting Medicare and Medicaid (19 percent).

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