America to Obamacare: We got it and we still don’t like it

In July 2013 and then again in December 2013, I provided some sobering observations from publicly available polling data on Obamacare.

In December, following the fumbled rollout of and the frustration and anger felt by many Americans whose plans were cancelled, I made the following observations:

  1. Being “nebulous” was the best thing going for Obamacare.
  2. There is about as much political capital to be extracted from the law today as there was in 2010.
  3. Partisans are locked-in with only marginal negative shifts among Democrats and Independents.
  4. Young Americans have gravitated away from the law.
  5. The law has more opposition and less support today than it did three months ago.

Despite the much-trumpeted 8 million Americans who signed up for Obamacare and the administration delaying the most unpopular mandates for businesses and individuals, all five observations from six months ago remain true today and opinion has actually gotten more negative.

Opposition is a tick higher than in December – June was an especially bad month for Obamacare in the realm of public opinion.

  1. In the NBC/WSJ survey, 41{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Americans said the performance of the Obama administration had gotten worse over the past 12 months, and only 15{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} said it had gotten better. When asked what the top reasons they felt it had gotten worse the top response was Obamacare followed by the administration’s foreign policy blunders.
  2. An average of 54{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Americans polled across 5 different surveys in June opposed the law, matching the second highest monthly average in the past twelve months. In November 2013, 56{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} opposed and 39{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} supported the law and in February 2014, 54{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} opposed and 39{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} supported the law.

table 1

Independents are even more opposed to the law – Across the surveys conducted by NBC-WSJ in 2014, Independents say the health care law is a bad idea by 53{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} to 24{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} who say it is a good idea. Even 35{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Democrats say either the law is a bad idea (15{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) or say they have no opinion (20{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}).

table 2

The law is like kryptonite to “young invincibles” – The youngest American adult cohort (18-34 year olds) continues to have a very unfavorable reaction to the law, and like kryptonite, their reaction gets worse with prolonged exposure.

table 3

Bottom line
Even with all the best parts of Obamacare in place and all the worst parts delayed, a majority of Americans still oppose this law and think it is a bad idea. Despite the administration’s and Democrats’ hope that opinion would change once the law was in effect, public opinion is getting even more sour.

Public Opinion Strategies