GOP health care bills are massively unpopular, poll after poll finds

Michael Walsh
Reporter

Over the past few weeks, poll after poll has indicated that most Americans are deeply opposed to Republican plans to dismantle much of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

A new Marist/NPR/PBS poll, published Wednesday morning, found that only 17 percent of Americans support the Senate GOP’s proposed health care bill. It’s not surprising that Democrats overwhelmingly oppose the bill, but only 35 percent of Republicans and 13 percent of independents approve of it, according to the survey.

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At 39 percent, a plurality of Republicans say they don’t know enough about the bill to have an opinion, according to the survey of 1,205 from June 21 to 25.

“You do not have the Republican base pushing for passage but you certainly have the Democrats, independents very much in opposition to the proposal. In a sense they woke up the opposition without getting comparable support from their own base,” Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, told Yahoo News.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. (Photo: Alex Brandon/AP)

Another poll published Wednesday morning, conducted by Politico and Morning Consult June 22-June 24, suggests that fewer than four in 10 voters back the Republican senators’ health bill.

Jeff Cartwright, the director of communications for Morning Consult, said since his firm started tracking the Republican plan they’ve seen support for it go down while support for Obamacare goes up. According to their findings, a quarter of Republican voters disapprove of the plan — a relatively large segment for their own party.

“The current bill in its current state is not as popular as it could be, but where we see it being messaged the best is when they talk about how it’s repealing and replacing Obamacare,” Cartwright told Yahoo News. “That’s where you really see Republican voters wanting to side more with the Republican version of the bill.”

There were false starts before House Republicans squeezed the American Health Care Act through. Senate Republican leaders shelved their bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, on Tuesday afternoon so they could work on securing more votes. It’s now delayed until after the chamber’s recess for the Fourth of July holiday.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s projection, unveiled Monday, that the Senate health care bill would result in 22 million more people being uninsured by 2026 than under current law may further damage the law’s popularity. Both polls released Wednesday were conducted before the publication of the CBO report.

The poll data suggests, Cartwright said, that Congress may want to delay the vote a little bit longer so they can get it “where they want it as well as where the constituents want it.”

And the bad polling news for Republicans keeps coming. A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll, which was conducted Saturday through Tuesday and released on Wednesday, found that only 12 percent of Americans support the Senate GOP health care plan.

And the survey results do not appear to be outliers. They largely reflect polling trends that also applied to the House bill.

In fact, the same day that Senate Republicans unveiled their own bill (last Thursday), NBC News and the Wall Street Journal published a survey showing that only 16 percent of Americans thought the House bill had been good — down from 23 percent last month.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a key opponent of the Republican health care bill, is interviewed June 28, 2017, the morning after Senate Majority Leader McConnell delayed a vote due to rebellion in his own party. (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

According to the NBC/WSJ poll, 41 percent of Americans think Obamacare is a good idea while only 38 percent said it’s a bad idea. It was the third consecutive poll NBC/WSJ poll to find that more Americans thought positively than negatively about Obamacare.

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The USA Today/Suffolk University poll reported that 53 percent of Americans said that Congress should simply leave Obamacare alone or hammer out its problems while keeping the overall structure intact.

Miringoff of Marist said Americans have much more positive opinions toward Obamacare than toward the sort of changes proposed by Republicans to replace it. For instance, 46 percent of participants said they wanted to expand the scope of Obamacare, while only 7 percent said the opposite. Another 17 percent wanted the ACA to be left alone entirely.

“We’re talking 63 percent of the country on the opposite side of this question and the direction of where the Republican proposals are heading,” Miringoff said.

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