Two new polls show majority want Supreme Court to overturn ObamaCare
posted at 9:15 am on March 26, 2012 by Ed Morrissey
As the issue of ObamaCare goes to the Supreme Court this week, two new polls show what most other pollsters have found for the last two years — the majority of Americans want ObamaCare overturned. We’ll start with the new Reason-Rupe poll, which surveyed 1200 general-population adults to find that 62% believe that the individual mandate is unconstitutional:
As the Supreme Court hears challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act this week, a new Reason-Rupe poll of 1,200 adults finds 62 percent of Americans believe it is unconstitutional for Congress to mandate the purchase of health insurance, while 30 percent think requiring health insurance is constitutional.
Legal experts have suggested that if Congress has the power to require individuals to buy health care insurance, it may also mandate that Americans buy broccoli. The Reason-Rupe poll finds 87 percent of Americans believe Congress does not have the power to require the purchase of broccoli, while 8 percent say Congress can force you to buy vegetables.
Reason-Rupe finds 54 percent of Americans think the health care law will result in the rationing of health care services. Half of Americans have an unfavorable view of the health care law, while 32 percent have a favorable view of it. Similarly, 49 percent say the law should be repealed and 36 percent would let it stand.
There’s a fairly obvious disconnect in these numbers, in the 13-point difference between respondents who say that the law is unconstitutional (62%) while only 49% want it repealed. That leaves 13% who think it violates the Constitution but somehow think it should remain law — or at best are unsure whether it should or not. This looks like a symptom of poor civics instruction in the US, which should teach that the Constitution is the foundational legal document of the country, and that laws cannot contradict it, especially federal law, which the Constitution explicitly exists to limit.
Still, only 36% think it should be kept in place in the Reason/Rupe survey, which is otherwise rather friendly to Obama. The D/R/I is a strange 41/38/13, but at least the difference between Democrats and Republicans is within the ballpark, even if independents are undersampled. Obama’s job approval rating in this survey is 48/46, although his approval on economic policy is 44/53. A majority of the respondents say they will either definitely vote for Obama (30%) or could do so (21%). Those are better numbers than Obama gets in other polls, so the survey hardly oversampled Obama critics to get these numbers.
The sample is a little different in The Hill’s poll, but the results are about the same:
Half of likely voters want the Supreme Court to overturn President Obama’s healthcare law, according to The Hill’s latest poll.
Just 42 percent said the court should uphold the law, with 50 percent saying it should be struck down.
A majority of both men and women want the law voided. By a 52-percent-to-39-percent margin women are more opposed to it than men, who oppose it 48 percent to 45 percent, a difference that matches the poll’s 3-point margin of error.
Only blacks (74 percent), Democrats (71 percent) and liberals (75 percent) want the law upheld. While even the youngest voters oppose the law (47 percent to 42 percent among those aged 18-39), opposition grows to 53 percent among voters aged 65 and older.
This poll surveyed likely voters rather than general-population adults, and its D/R/I is 32/36/32, which probably oversamples Republicans by a small margin at the expense of Democrats. However, the numbers aren’t that much different. That’s bad news for President Obama, especially when it comes to the public perception of his signature legislative achievement. Only 22% believe it will make the quality of health care better — twenty points lower than those who want the bill upheld. Forty-two percent believe it will make health care worse, and another 30% believe it will do nothing to improve or worsen health care, which makes nearly three-quarters of likely voters who believe ObamaCare will either be ineffective or worse.
That’s not the only problem for Obama in this poll, either. Democrats have owned the health care issue for years over Republicans, usually well into double digits. Today’s poll shows a dead heat between Democrats and Republicans on trust regarding health-care policies, 44% each (indies give Dems the edge, but within the MoE at 40/37). That’s a big problem for Democrats heading into the fall elections, especially with Obama getting hammered on another traditional Democratic strength, the economy [see update III].
Finally, there is a big vote of no-confidence in the Supreme Court as well. The Hill asked whether the justices decide cases based on the Constitution or on their own personal political beliefs. By more than 2-1 (56/27), voters believe the justices act on their personal political beliefs rather than the Constitution. That ratio holds up across every demographic in the crosstabs. One presumes that a 5-4 decision on this case will only corroborate that impression.
Update: Reason responded to my issue with the D/R/I composition. In an e-mail from Chris Mitchell, Director of Communications for the Reason Foundation, the original D/R/I was 30/28/37, which undersamples Democrats and Republicans a little but gets the ratios reasonably close. The published 41/38/13 resulted from adding leaners to the D/R and subtracting them from independents.
It’s nice to have a publication actually respond to these concerns, but then again, I have always considered Reason to be top-drawer anyway.
Update II: In my last update, I mistakenly wrote that the original D/R/I of the sample was 30/28/27. It was 30/28/37, which I have fixed above. Sorry for the confusion on the typo.
Update III: Actually, I should note that the Democratic polling advantage on health care disappeared two years ago, and Republicans had a double-digit lead on the issue at the midterms. This is an improvement for Democrats, but it’s still no longer one of their core advantages.