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been great if the exit poll contained additional items probing which specific elements of the law people wanted to see repealed or what kind of new provisions people would have wanted to see added to the law.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.

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