Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Americans Divided Over 2010 Health Care Law

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments next week in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the 2010 health care law, the public is evenly divided about the legislation. Overall, 47% approve of the law and45% disapprove.

This 47% approval represents an uptick in support since January 2011, when 41% of people approved of the legislation and 48% disapproved. Since the bill became law on March 23, 2010, disapproval ratings have been fairly steady, ranging from 44% in April 2010 to 48% in January 2011. Approval has shown somewhat more movement, having moved from a low of 35% in July 2010 to a high of 47% in the current survey.

Republicans are unified in opposition to the law, with 84% disapproving and only 11% approving. By a wide margin (76% to 17%), Democrats approve of the measure. Independents are divided (44% approve, 47% disapprove).

Given the division in overall opinion of the health care law, it is not surprising that there is no consensus about what (if any) action Congress should take. Overall, 38% of people favor repealing the law, while 33% favor expanding it and 20% want it left alone. Public opinion about what to do with the law is essentially unchanged since the fall of 2010. Read More