Yet, even if federal and state exchanges were all functioning properly, a third poll found that many Americans the administration hopes will use them do not understand how the marketplaces work. A recent Gallup poll shows that about 70% of uninsured Americans are unfamiliar with the exchanges, where they may be able to enroll in new coverage and access federal subsidies to make policies more affordable. This figure was essentially unchanged from September, before the exchanges launched. Awareness did rise among the general public, according to the Pew survey, with 65% of Americans aware of the existence of the exchanges, up from 51% in September.

The White House says some 20 million people have visited HealthCare.gov, the troubled federal exchange website, since it launched on Oct. 1. But those visits may not portend a future wave of enrollment. Although Pew found 1 in 7 Americans has visited an exchange website, more than half of those visitors already have insurance through an employer or government program, making them ineligible for new private coverage through Obamacare. About one-third of exchange website visitors were uninsured, according to Pew.