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Poll Debunks Media Claims: Most Americans Back Obamacare or Want It Expanded | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Poll Debunks Media Claims: Most Americans Back Obamacare or Want It Expanded


A man fills out an information card during an Affordable Care Act outreach event. (Reuters/Jonathan Alcorn)

Update:  A second poll, this time from CBS, confirms findings in CNN poll.

One of the many disgraceful aspects of the media coverage of Obamacare—and criticism of the ACA, and the Tea Party claims in general—is the rote depiction of the new law as “very unpopular” or “opposed by most Americans according to polls” because it goes too far. Most people are said to be happy with the healthcare system as is, and so on. In other words, repeating the GOP line.

Now, those who have supported the law have long claimed that the simple bottom line poll numbers are misleading. Yes, those numbers generally show that, say, 51 percent don’t like the ACA and only 44 percent approve. Yet, as we know (but many in the media fail to recognize, even beyond Fox News), a lot of Democrats and liberals are unhappy, wisely, because the law doesn’t go far enough, or that President Obama didn’t fight for the public option or single-payer or Medicare for all. So how many of them are included in that bottom line number who “oppose” the ACA—but from the left?

Polls have indicated there’s a fair number but now there’s a new one today that CNN actually took the trouble—at the end of its online report, true—to break out. And, lo and behold, it turns out that fully 12 percent of those opposed feel the law doesn’t so far enough.

So, as they note, that means that instead of just over 50 percent being against the law because it goes too far—the impression most in the media have left—at least 53 percent actually back the law or believe it should be expanded. And the poll was taken at the worst possible time—amidst the current widespread complaints about the roll-out of the ACA sign-up provisions.

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The other numbers in the poll bear out support for the ACA, as they show that the shutdown has inspired growing unpopularity for the GOP and John Boehner (even among Republicans), but Obama’s standing has remained the same:

This is the first time since the Republicans won back control of the House in the 2010 midterm elections that a majority say their control of the chamber is bad for the country.

Meanwhile, an expert on the ACA has fact-checked a Sean Hannity segment last Friday and exposes the misinformation there—and also suggests, sadly, that many Fox viewers who could save thousands of dollars each year, and gain coverage for pre-existing condition and for their children by embracing Obamacare, probably will not. That’s the true evil of Fox propaganda.

George Zornick picks through Ted Cruz’s lies about Obamacare.

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