Majority of Americans oppose Obamacare (but not really)

Last month, CNN released the results of a survey on Obamacare — The Affordable Care Act. Depending on where you get your news, you may have seen a headline that says something like “Majority of Americans oppose Obamacare.”

Which is true. A little.

Tara Courtland

Communications Director Tara Courtland

Once you dig down a little deeper into the story, what you actually have is this:

Fifty-four percent of Americans oppose the law but 35 percent of those oppose it because it’s too conservative; they wanted the law to be stronger and they’re still mad that it’s not.

So dissecting the numbers a bit further, what you get is this:

  • 43 percent of Americans like Obamacare
  • 16 percent want even more Obamacare

So 60 percent of Americans want some form of socialized medicine, while 35 percent oppose it (the rest have no opinion).

Leaving aside the arguments for and against Obamacare, I’m fascinated by the continuing political divide on this. The Affordable Care Act was passed three years ago. In that time, there’s been some uncertainty waiting for the Supreme Court ruling on the issue but even so, three years is a long time in politics — there aren’t many issues that continue to generate such strong and clear divides three years after they’ve been decided.

But more than that, there’s a pretty clear racial, generational and income divide.

Men and women came out with essentially the same numbers but 77 percent of non-whites said they favor the law or want it stronger, while only 50 percent of whites said the same. Looking at it another way – 43 percent of whites oppose Obamacare altogether; only 17 percent of non-whites do.

The generation gap is telling as well. Among adults ages 18-34 years old, 28 percent oppose the law because it’s too conservative. That number jumps to 37 percent for people ages 35-49 and then it rises by another point for the next age bracket and another point again for those 65 and up.

And as you might expect, people with more money are more likely to oppose Obamacare: sixty-nine percent of people making less than $50,000 like Obamacare or want more. Only 51 percent of people making at least $50,0000 said the same thing.

You’ll notice that in every category, even though the divide is obvious, the majority of Americans still support the health care law. And also, the older, whiter and richer we are, the more likely we are to be conservative on this.

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About Tara Courtland

Tara Courtland is the communications director at NEMT.
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