This chart from the new Washington Post/ABC poll on ObamaCare’s rollout tells most of its story in one glance:
More than three years after Obamacare was signed into law and fewer than two weeks before its health insurance exchanges are to launch, many Americans don’t know a lot about the pending changes except this: They don’t much like them.
Sixty-two percent in a new ABC News-Washington Post poll say they lack the information needed to understand the changes that will take effect as the Affordable Care Act is implemented. Barely one in 10, moreover, thinks the federal government, their state government or the health insurance industry is fully prepared to implement the law. …
More people say the law has had negative rather than positive effects so far, although many as yet see no impact. Thirty-six percent, for example, say it’s worsened the health care system overall, vs. 19 percent who see improvement. The rest, 39 percent, see no effect.
Many more, about six in 10 Americans (55 to 63 percent), say the law so far has had no effect on them personally, their health care costs, insurance coverage or care experiences. But among those who do report an impact, it’s more apt to be negative. Thirty-three percent report negative effects on their costs, 25 percent on their coverage and 22 percent on the quality of their care. Positive effects, by contrast, are reported by only about one in 10 in each case.
The 52% level of opposition to the law is the highest level since April 2012 in this polling series. Among independents, the law only get a 42/54, slightly higher opposition than the overall population. A majority of opponents to the law would support a government shutdown (52%), but that amounts to just 27% overall.
The demos have a couple of intriguing data points. The support level among women is much lower than among men, 38% and 46% respectively, which caught the pollster by surprise:
Support for the law is greater among men than women; while 46 percent of men support, it that drops to 38 percent of women. That’s somewhat surprising, in that women are more likely to be Democrats; on the other hand women also are more frequent users of the health care system, so may feel more at risk. …
And notably, the law’s support is weak even among African-Americans, probably Obama’s single most loyal support group. Eighty-seven percent of blacks approve of Obama’s job performance overall. But just 48 percent support his signature health care law.
This hints at huge trouble for Democrats in 2014 if this rollout continues as we have seen thus far. Women and African-Americans are big keys to Democratic hopes of holding the Senate in the midterm elections. Those demos didn’t punish Obama for ObamaCare in 2012, but Obama’s not going to be on the ticket in 2o14. Pushing the exchanges in the midst of the confusion, opposition, and unreadiness of today will further alienate these voters, who might not switch en masse to the GOP but could very well stay home in November 2014.