WSJ/NBC Poll: Only 37% of Americans Say Obamacare Is 'Good Idea'

Thursday, 06 Jun 2013 09:09 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Only 37 percent of Americans think Obamacare is a "good idea," with the gap between supporters and skeptics of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare program reaching a new high, a poll has found.

According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC survey
of 1,000 adults, 49 percent say Obamacare is a "bad idea," with 43 percent saying they "strongly" hold that view.

The 12-point gap in how Obamacare is viewed is the largest since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in March 2010.

Latest: Is Susan Rice to Blame for Benghazi Cover Up? Was She Complicit? Vote Here.

The poll, conducted May 30 to June 2, also found that a much larger percentage of people surveyed think they will be worse off than better off under the new plan by a margin of 38 percent to 19 percent.

Meanwhile, skepticism runs high even among those who stand to gain the most: people who are uninsured and those who buy their own insurance.

For those who purchase coverage for themselves, the new law establishes government-sponsored state insurance exchanges to help bring down healthcare costs. But just four months before enrollment begins, 48 percent of respondents eligible for the program believe they will be worse off, compared with 13 percent who say they will be better off.

And among those who currently lack coverage, more indicate they will be worse off than better off by a margin of 29 percent to 22 percent.

Still, supporters of Obamacare are hoping perceptions will shift once the program gets underway.

"People are going to find that this is helpful to them, and that is going to transform the survey data in the future," Ron Pollack, head of Families USA, an advocacy group that backs the new law, told The Wall Street Journal. "We are going to have a totally different conversation."

The wide-ranging poll also tested views about immigration reform.

A majority of Americans, or 52 percent of those surveyed, are either "strongly" or "somewhat" in favor of reform legislation that would offer a pathway to citizenship to those currently in the country illegally, versus 43 percent who oppose it.

Support for immigration reform jumps to 65 percent if stipulations on citizenship are put in place, such as paying a fine and back taxes and passing a security screening, all of which are requirements under the Senate's immigration reform proposal.

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