Saturday, April 5, 2014

National opinion on the Affordable Care Act for 2014

NPR recently released a  bipartisan poll to see the electorate's thoughts for the 2014 elections.  Among the major findings in the poll, 51% of those polled oppose the Affordable Care Act while only 47% support the law.  For Republicans, it is easy for them to say that the law is unpopular.  I am sure Senator Ted Cruz will say that we should make DC listen because the slight majority of Americans oppose the Affordable Care Act.  But the NPR poll also found what is consistent with other polls, 47% support the law, while 7% oppose the law because it does not go far enough with health care reform.  Only 44% of those oppose the law and believe that it goes too far.  It's not all good news for Democrats that support the Affordable Care Act.

Let's look at how people view the law, based on party id.  Not surprisingly, support and opposition for the law falls largely on party lines.  We look at how Democrats view the law:
Support
84
Oppose; not far enough
4
Oppose law; too far
8

Then, Republicans:
Support
11
Oppose; not far enough
13
Oppose law; too far
76
If the election is going to hinge on the Affordable Care Act, then it will largely depend on how independents view the law:

Support
38
Oppose; not far enough
5
Oppose law; too far
54
Just judging by this poll, it does not look like the 2014 election will end well for the Democrats if the election is all about the Affordable Care Act.  The problem with extrapolating too much from this poll is that it is a national poll as opposed to a series of state polls that are holding the Senate elections.  What we should be doing if we want to predict how the Senate will turn out if the Affordable Care Act is the focus of the election is to look at a series of state polls. Unfortunately, this poll is just the latest example of how people can use political polls and other political information to prove whatever you want about politics.  If you're a Democrat you can point to the overall numbers and show that the Affordable Care Act is approved by a majority of Americans.  If you're a Republican, you would look at the political party numbers that show that independents do not support the law and that they will ultimately decide the election.  



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