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CNN/ORC Poll: Americans Don't Trust Supreme Court on Obamacare, Same-Sex Marriage

Image: CNN/ORC Poll: Americans Don't Trust Supreme Court on Obamacare, Same-Sex Marriage
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By    |   Monday, 08 Jun 2015 09:02 AM

Americans are leery of how the Supreme Court will handle upcoming landmark decisions on Obamacare and same-sex marriage, according to a new CNN/ORC poll, even though they mostly approve of how the court handles its business overall.

The poll, conducted of 1,025 adults at the end of May, showed that 52 percent approve of the Supreme Court's overall performance, with 41 percent disapproving, an improvement from a 48 percent each-way split two years ago.

However, the ratings were worse on healthcare and same-sex marriage, with only about half saying they have at least a moderate amount of trust in the court as it considers those issues.

On healthcare, with the court considering if the law should allow subsidies for people purchasing policies through the federal exchange:
  • 43 percent approve of Obamacare overall, matching a previous high in 2013, with 55 percent opposed.
  • 11 percent agree Obamacare is an overall success.
  • 35 percent say it has been a failure.
  • 53 percent say it's too soon to make a judgment.
  • 64 percent of those who favor Obamacare trust the court to handle healthcare policy, compared to only 39 percent who are opposed.
The court's upcoming decision on the King v. Burwell case could determine the future of Obamacare itself. The plaintiffs in the case argue that President Barack Obama's signature legislation allows only for federal subsidies on state-run exchanges, not for those in states that use the federal exchange.

If the court agrees, 7.5 million people in those states could lose their subsidies, driving the price for their insurance policies up too high for them to afford. Tax credits for plans bought on the federal exchange reduce the monthly cost for those eligible to about $100 a month for insurance. But without the subsidies, the monthly cost could go to $350 or even higher for the residents of the 37 states that rely on the federal healthcare exchange.

Just 13 states and the District of Columbia would not be affected if the Supreme Court rules for the plaintiffs, as they have their own exchanges.

The decision is also coming as many Americans who already do not qualify for coverage have been scrambling to find other ways to afford the mandatory healthcare plans, reports The Wall Street Journal. Many people who purchased the lower-cost silver or bronze individual plans on the exchanges have still seen their premiums and out-of-pocket payments climbs from anywhere between 14 percent and 28 percent.

The Supreme Court's decision could also slam Americans who are facing insurance companies' calls for double-digit premium hikes in some states, like New Mexico, where Blue Cross Blue Shield has proposed a 50 percent premium increase for its Obamacare plans.

On the issue of same-sex marriage, the poll revealed:
  • 63 percent say they believe gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry, with 49 percent said that was a constitutional right as recently as 2010.
  • Support reaches across most age demographics, including 73 percent of those under age 50 and 52 percent older than 50.
  • Democrats, by 74 percent, and independents, at 69 percent, agree gays have a constitutional right to marry.
  • Only 35 percent of Republicans agree with the constitutional right for same-sex marriage.
  • Republicans under 50 agree on the issue by 59 percent, compared with 36 percent of Republicans older than 50.
  • 63 percent of those agree on a constitutional right to same-sex marriage say they trust the court at least a moderate amount on the issue.
  • Only 25 percent of those who disagree trust the court.
The court is currently divided on the issue, which is expected to be decided later this month. Conservative justices are leaning toward the view that the decision should be made on the state level, while liberal judges say same-sex marriage is a right that should be observed in all 50 states.

Only 11 states have granted marriage rights to same-sex couples through the ballot or the legislature, while court rulings resulted in other legalization efforts.

The cases are coming before the court from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, four of the 14 remaining states that allow only heterosexual marriage.

A federal appeals court in Cincinnati last November upheld marriage bans from the four states, marking the only time the states got a federal ruling in favor of their side since 2013, when the Supreme Court struck down part of the federal anti-gay marriage law.

Just 10 years ago, Massachusetts was the first state that allowed same sex-marriages, and as recently as last October, just one-third of states permitted the unions. Now, same-sex couples can marry in 36 states and Washington, D.C., marking a dramatic change in public opinion.

Also in the current CNN poll, the Supreme Court's trust levels rose on freedom of speech, at 69 percent; voting rights, at 65 percent; and the death penalty, at 60 percent.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice John Roberts is still carrying a positive opinion among those polled, with 33 percent seeing him favorably and 24 percent unfavorably. This is a drop from 41 percent seeing him favorably after the court upheld the Obamacare individual mandate provision, the CNN poll shows.

Roberts' decline was most marked among Democrats, with 51 percent of them seeing him favorably in 2012 compared to 35 percent now.

The opinions revealed in the CNN/ORC poll on Obamacare results mirror those of a new ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Monday that shows most Americans would like subsidies to be left alone, even if they do generally disapprove of the health reform law.

In that poll, respondents said, by a margin of 54 to 39 percent, they oppose the law, while 55 percent said the justices should leave the subsidies alone. However, 38 percent of those polled said the subsidies should be outlawed.

In another poll released Monday, by Public Policy Polling, 61 percent of those questioned believe all Americans earning similar incomes should be eligible for the same subsidies, no matter where they live.

And if the court rules in favor of eliminating the subsidies, the PPP survey found that most voters want Congress to apply a fix so nobody loses their subsidies, and if they don't fix it, they should lose votes.

The findings showed:
  • Voters across party lines agreed everyone should be eligible for the same subsidies, including Democrats (74/20), independents (56/38), and Republicans (49/41).
  • 62 percent of voters said they would be more likely to vote for someone who works to ensure a universal subsidy level, compared to 28 percent who said the would not.
  • Republicans could pay the biggest price: 41 percent of voters say they’d be less likely to vote for a Republican who didn’t vote to fix Obamacare, compared to only 31 percent who say they would be more likely.

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Americans increasingly lack trust in the Supreme Court on such issues as Obamacare subsidies and same-sex marriage, according to a CNN/ORC poll released Monday. The nation's high court is expected to hand down decisions on both of these issues sometime this month. Overall,...
obamacare, gay marriage, scotus, polls
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2015-02-08
Monday, 08 Jun 2015 09:02 AM
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