The Affordable Care Act, the law better known as Obamacare, may be on the precipice of repeal. But its popularity keeps surging.
Over the past few months, polls from a variety of outlets have showed a slow but steady increase in support for the healthcare law.
Most recently, the Kaiser Family Foundation’s tracking poll found that 48% of people surveyed approved of the law, while only 42% disapproved. It represented the largest spread for approval dating back to the beginning of the tracking poll in 2010.
While the issue has always had a sharp partisan divide, the biggest shift in Kaiser’s survey has come among independents.
“The latest shift in favorability of the law is largely driven by the views of independents, among whom a larger share now say they have a favourable opinion (50 per cent) of the law than an unfavorable opinion (39 per cent),” said a post from Kaiser on the survey findings. “This is the first survey since 2010 that has found a larger share of independents reporting a favourable view than an unfavorable view.”
In a another poll released Friday, Public Policy Polling found that 50% of people surveyed supported the ACA while only 38% were against it. That compared to the 46% who approved and 41% who disapproved in the Democratic firm’s February 2 poll.
The trend matches findings from the Pew Research Center released on Thursday that showed 54% approval for the law among those surveyed and 43% disapproval. Independents’ positive opinions of the law also surged in the Pew poll.
“Independents have grown in their support of the health care law in the past year. As was the case in December, about half (53%) now approve of the Affordable Care Act,” said Pew’s Hannah Fingerhut in a post on the poll. “In October, shortly before the election, 41% of independents approved of the law.”
And the general trend shows a slew of positive polls for the health law over the past two months. Here’s the progression from the recent polling:
- Public Policy Polling, February 24: 50% approve, 38% disapprove (+12% approve)
- Kaiser Family Foundation, February 24: 48% approve, 42% disapprove (+6% approve)
- Pew Reacher Center, February 23: 54% approve, 43% disapprove (+11% approve)
- Politico/Morning Consult, February 22 : 46% approve, 45% disapprove (+1% approve)
- Public Policy Polling, February 2: 46% approve, 41% disapprove (+5% approve)
- Politico/Morning Consult, January 30: 47% approve, 45% disapprove (+2% approve)
- NBC News/Wall Street Journal, January 17: 45% approve, 41% disapprove (+4% approve)
The increase in approval may throw a wrench in the plan of Republicans to repeal and replace the law. As Democrats wage a campaign to save parts of the law that are popular, Republicans have begun to argue about just how much of President Barack Obama’s signature law to keep.
On the one hand, more conservative Republicans are arguing for a near total teardown of the law. Moderate Republicans, however, want to keep provisions such as the expansion of Medicaid coverage, which has become popular in red states that have expanded the program.
The battle has also led to GOP lawmakers getting an earful about the ACA repeal from constituents at town halls and community meetings across the country this week. Congress is on break for a district work week, in which lawmakers leave Washington to interact with voters.
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