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Another Poll Disputes Media Claims That Obamacare Is in Big Trouble | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Another Poll Disputes Media Claims That Obamacare Is in Big Trouble




Supporters of the Affordable Care Act in Santa Monica, California, October 10, 2

Earlier this week I wrote a column here relating the surprising—to some—results of a new CNN poll. Although conservatives and many reporters and pundits declare, as if proven fact, that Obamacare is “very unpopular” or “most Americans oppose it because it goes too far,” progressives have long claimed that this is not really true, because many on the left have always felt it didn’t go far enough (no public option, or single-payer or Medicare-for-all) and this swells the “against” numbers in surveys.

That CNN poll, in fact, showed that 53 percent actually either support the ACA—or want it expanded.

Still, that number was disputed by critics of the new law, and the poll, in any case, was taken just before criticism of the tech problems with the rollout of the ACA truly ignited. Jon Stewart trained his mockery on Obama’s team early this week and some claimed if-Obama-has-lost-Stewart-he’s-lost-the-country. Some reporters who had backed the act, such as Ezra Klein, seemed to go overboard in critiquing the tech problems and/or predicting the law was now doomed and sure to lose much of the public support it enjoyed. Klein even complained that there was no “hold music” for callers to the ACA hotline who had to wait a long time.

Joan Walsh of Salon has hit this alleged overreaction. She engaged in a polite debate with Klein on Chris Hayes’ show last night and offers a new piece today.

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to Obamacare losing much of its popular backing. A new CBS poll came out last night and, guess what, it shows virtually the same numbers that the CNN survey produced—even though it was taken amid that explosion of criticism this week. Where is the surge against the Obamacare from the right?

In the CBS poll, findings show that 29 percent feel the ACA law is okay, and 22 percent think it doesn’t go far enough—and 43 percent say it goes too far. And that’s despite the fact that the same poll shows that most Americans are not convinced they will pay less under the new law, nor necessarily get higher quality care. Properly skeptical but open-minded.

This suggests that most Americans, in reality, (1) desperately need the new coverage promised by the law, or (2) recognize that added benefits come with possible costs or restrictions, (3) are willing to give the law a chance to work (unlike critics and pundits) or (4) are willing to sacrifice a bit to help tens of millions others.

The most recent Rasmussen poll found that the ACA was most unpopular among senior citizens. Of course, this is the group that will benefit least from the law, since they already enjoy the benefits of Medicare.

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And a little-noted Washington Post/ABC poll a few days ago show that support for the law actually gaining a bit, and with those wanting to give a chance outnumbering those who want to repeal it by (wait for it): 2 to 1.

Which is not to say that opinions may be shaken if the tech problems are fixed soon. But for now the media claims about Obamacare-in-trouble need to be taken with several grains of salt.

Greg Mitchell unveils surprising public opinion on the Affordable Care Act.

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