Americans want to fix ObamaCare, not end it

A CNN/ORC survey taken Oct. 18–20 found that respondents opposed the law, 56 to 41 percent. But when pressed further, 12 percent—nearly a quarter of those who opposed the law—said it wasn’t liberal enough. Only 38 percent of the entire sample—less than the number who favored the law—said it was too liberal. In a CBS News poll taken Oct. 18–21, a majority disapproved of the law, 51 to 43 percent. But when pressed as to why, the numbers turned upside-down. The percentage who said the law went too far dropped to 43. Twenty-nine percent said the law was about right, and 22 percent—nearly all of them Democrats and independents—said it didn’t go far enough.

Now comes a second NBC/Journal poll, conducted Oct. 25–28. The numbers look grim: Forty-seven percent say Obamacare is a bad idea, up from 43 percent in early October. When they’re asked whether the law “is working well the way it is,” “needs minor modifications to improve it,” “needs a major overhaul,” or “should be totally eliminated,” only 6 percent say it’s working well as is. But among the remaining options, 38 percent of respondents say the law needs minor modifications, 28 percent say it needs a major overhaul, and only 24 percent say it should be completely eliminated. The poll doesn’t ask those who favor a major overhaul whether the law should go further or be scaled back, so we don’t know whether, as in the other surveys, what looks like a majority for repeal or major rollback is really a minority. But the poll does ask whether Obamacare’s website problems “are short-term technical issues that happen in large projects like this and can be corrected” or “point to longer-term issues with the new health care law and its overall design that cannot be corrected.” On that question, 31 percent say the law’s faults can’t be corrected. Thirty-seven percent say they can, and 30 percent say it’s too soon to tell. There’s a majority for fixing or revising the program, but not for purging it.