Friday, November 9, 2012

Attitudes Toward ACA in the 2012 Exit Polls

The exit polling from last Tuesday's presidential election included an item assessing voters' attitudes toward the Affordable Care Act (health care reform). I was pleased to see that a four-option item was used, rather than a dichotomous retain/repeal item. Here are the results, from a screen capture I made (original source).


Consistent with previous findings when the question has been asked in this way, total repeal garnered the support of only one-quarter of respondents in the exit poll. Expansion of the law also received the support of roughly one-quarter of voters in the exit poll, a lower figure than had been obtained in previous polls.

It would have been great if the exit poll contained additional items probing which specific elements of the law people wanted to see repealed or what kind of new provisions people would have wanted to see added to the law. However, exit polls ask about many other areas (candidate preferences, demographics, positions on a wide range of issues), so it is understandable why there (apparently) were no further items on health care.

Not surprisingly, voters who favored leaving the ACA as is or expanding it went heavily for President Obama in the election, whereas those who favored repeal in whole or in part went heavily for the challenger, Mitt Romney.

The Kaiser Health News has summarized some of the additional reporting on voters' health care attitudes in connection with Tuesday's election.

Friday, June 29, 2012

With the U.S. Supreme Court having upheld the constitutionality of nearly all aspects of the Affordable Care Act yesterday, pollsters are now starting to gauge public opinion toward the Court's decision. I will start compiling the results of these polls below:
  • Gallup (via Talking Points Memo, June 29): "Forty-six percent said the Court made the right decision, while 46 percent said the[y] disagreed with it."
  • Reuters/Ipsos (via Political Wire, July 1): "Support for health care law rises after Court ruling."
  • Kaiser Family Foundation (via Daily Kos, July 2): 56% say opponents of the law should "stop their efforts to block the law and move on to other national problems," whereas 38% say opponents should "continue trying to block the law from being implemented."
  • CNN/Opinion Research (via Political Wire, July 2): "...American voters are evenly divided on last week's health care ruling, with 50% saying they agree with the Supreme Court's decision and 49% saying they disagree."
  • Washington Post/ABC (via Political Wire, July 3): "A new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds Americans split on President Obama's health care law, with 45% in favor and 48% opposed." 
  • Quinnipiac (via Political Wire, July 12): "...voters agree by a 48% to 45% margin with [...] the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding President Obama's health care law, while they say 49% to 43% that the Congress should repeal it." If one looks at the detailed report from Quinnipiac, however, one sees that the question this organization has always used to measure attitudes toward repealing the ACA presents a dichotomous yes/no format, without a middle-ground option such as repealing parts of the law and keeping others ("Do you think Congress should try to repeal the health care law, or should they let it stand?"). 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Republican pollster David Hill urges complete-repeal supporters to look beyond responses to dichotomous (yes/no) opinion-survey questions on jettisoning the 2010 health care reform law.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Talking Points Memo reviews recent polling on health care reform, finding that "the public’s opinion on health care reform is disparate, riddled with qualifications and subject to change when new information is introduced. And it turns out Americans don’t really hate it."

Monday, March 19, 2012

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows greater opposition than support for the 2010 health care law, by a 52-41% margin. In addition to asking about overall support/opposition, the poll probed attitudes toward the individual-mandate aspect of the law, which is the central part of an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court hearing. One key question (as shown in this statistical report) asked the following:

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments about the health care law later this month. Of these three options, which would you prefer to have the Supreme Court do: 1) (uphold the entire law), 2) throw out the part of the law that requires individuals to have coverage and keep the rest of the law, or 3) (throw out the entire law)?

The results showed 42% of respondents (and by extension, of U.S. adults as a whole) wanting the Court to throw out the entire law, 25% wanting the individual mandate to be voided but the rest of the law upheld, and 26% in favor of upholding the entire law.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Pew Research Center is out with its latest public opinion survey on the health care reform law. Quoting from the accompanying news release:

Overall, 47% approve of the law, while 45% disapprove. The 47% approval represents an uptick in support since January 2011 (41% approve vs. 48% disapprove). Since the bill became law on March 23, 2010, disapproval of the legislation has been fairly steady, ranging from 44% in April 2010 to 48% in January 2011. Approval has shown somewhat more movement, from a low of 35% in July 2010, to a high of 47% in the current survey.

Pew also provides a table with many demographic comparisons. The reform law is most popular among Black and Hispanic respondents, 18-29 year-olds, holders of a bachelor's degree or higher, respondents with a family income of $30,000 or less, and Democrats. Slightly more political independents disapprove (47%) than approve (44%) of the law, with Republicans heavily in opposition. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

HCR Attitudes in Presidential Swing States

A couple of days ago, USA Today had an article with the headline “Swing states poll: Health care law hurts Obama in 2012.” Indeed, the Gallup-conducted poll had a number of negative findings on voters' reactions to the 2010 health care reform law. By a 53%-38% margin, swing-state voters saw passage of the law as a "bad thing" rather than a "good thing" (the margin was a little closer, 50-42, nationally). Slightly more swing-state voters (15%) claimed the law has hurt, rather than helped (11%), them and their families. By an even larger gap (42-20), these respondents expected the law to do more harm than good in the long run.

Gallup also examined presidential "horse-race" numbers in the swing states, and it is these results that suggest possible oversampling of Republicans or other house effects in a GOP direction (as has happened previously with Gallup, here and here). Here are Gallup's recent swing-state horse-race numbers, compared with those of two other swing-state polls taken in the past few weeks (below the bar graphs are the states included in each respective poll, with grey indicating omitted states).


As can be seen, USA Today/Gallup is the only mid-February swing-state poll (at least that I'm aware of) showing President Obama trailing his possible GOP opponents. Rick Santorum leading Obama by 5 percentage points in the swing states (and by 3 nationally) is inconsistent with virtually any other poll.

The other two swing-state polls, by Fox News and Purple Strategies, show Obama leading the GOP contenders by varying margins.

Assuming that preference for Obama in the presidential election would be positively correlated with favorable attitudes toward health care reform, one can raise the following question: If Gallup's methodology has systematically depressed Obama's numbers in the swing states, has it also depressed support for the new health law?