The Washington Post

Yup: Public opinion is deeply conflicted on health reform

I keep telling you that public opinion is deeply conflicted on the Affordable Care Act — and on whether to repeal it — and two new polls confirm this yet again.

CNN’s new poll finds Americans split on whether they approve of the Supreme Court decision, 50-49. Moderates agree with it, 54-45, but independents tilt against it, 47-52.

Support rises — as it does in other polls — when you ask about the bill’s provisions. The largest group of all, 43 percent, supports “most” of the provisions in the bill, and a total of 52 percent support most or all of the bill’s provisions, versus only 47 percent who oppose most or all of them. Fifty-nine percent of moderates support most or all the provisions. And get this: even though independents tilt against the SCOTUS decision, they support the bill’s provisions, 51-48.

Obamacare foes will note that Americans would rather repeal all the bill’s provisions than keep all of them, 51-47; independents agree, 56-42. But remember, polls that only give you a choice between total repeal and keeping all of the the law tend to produce findings that favor the former. If you portray the situation more accurately by presenting a range of options — full repeal, repealing only parts, keeping the bill as is, expanding it — suddenly support for full repeal is far lower, as Gallup found on Friday. This dynamic is reinforced by CNN’s finding that majorities — including among independents — favor most or all the provisions.

Meanwhile, the new Kaiser poll finds that opinion on SCOTUS decision is roughly split, at 47-43.

But it also finds — and this one is key — that 56 percent of Americans, and 51 percent of independents, want the law’s opponents to stop trying to block implementation and move on to other problems. Meanwhile, a big majority of Republicans, 69 percent, want efforts to stop the law to continue. Only 41 percent of independents agree.

As I’ve said again and again, opinion continues to tilt against the law known as the Affordable Care Act. But opinion is very conflicted on full repeal, and people support the provisions that are actually in the law. And so, the question remains: Even if the overall law remains unpopular, how will independents and moderates react to the GOP’s push to fight the repeal battle a third time?

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.

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