Verdict on Healthcare Reform Bill Still Divided

by Lydia Saad

Among age groups, seniors continue to be the most opposed

PRINCETON, NJ -- The healthcare reform legislation Congress passed in late March divided the public then and has not gained significant support in the three months since.

Trend: Reaction to Congress' Passage of Healthcare Reform Bill

The 49% of Americans who today say passage of healthcare reform was a good thing, compared with 46% calling it a bad thing, is a bit more positive than the two prior readings in which the slight plurality called it a bad thing. However, the four percentage-point increase since April in favorability toward the law, from 45% to 49%, is not statistically significant.

President Obama on Tuesday marked the 90-day anniversary of his signing of the healthcare reform bill into law by announcing a number of consumer-oriented healthcare regulations under the umbrella of a "patients' bill of rights." However, highlighting the anemic nature of public support for the new healthcare legislation, the June 11-13 USA Today/Gallup poll also shows 50% of Americans in favor of Congress' repealing all or much of the law.

Public reviews of the healthcare reform bill continue to be highly partisan. Roughly three-quarters of Democrats (76%) and liberals (78%) call its passage a good thing, compared with 17% of Republicans and 22% of conservatives. Independents lean against the bill by an eight-point margin, 51% to 43%, largely unchanged from April.

Reaction to Congress' Passage of Healthcare Reform Bill -- Recent Trend, by Party ID

On the basis of age, the largest well of opposition is found among seniors, 60% of whom call passage of the bill a bad thing, similar to the 57% in April. By contrast, attitudes are more favorable than unfavorable among young and middle-aged adults.

Reaction to Congress' Passage of Healthcare Reform Bill -- Recent Trend, by Age

Bottom Line

New Gallup polling finds that Americans remain about equally divided in their reactions to Congress' passage of healthcare reform legislation earlier this year. Seniors -- who were among the most widely opposed to the legislation prior to passage, given their broad satisfaction with the status quo under Medicare -- have not relented in opposing the bill. And while one might expect the highly charged views of partisans to remain fixed, as they have, it is noteworthy that support among independents has not grown.

Survey Methods

Results for this USA Today/Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 11-13, 2010, with a random sample of 1,014 adults, aged 18 and older, living in the continental U.S., selected using random-digit-dial sampling.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones (for respondents with a landline telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell phone-only). Each sample includes a minimum quota of 150 cell phone-only respondents and 850 landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, education, region, and phone lines. Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2009 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in continental U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

View methodology, full question results, and trend data.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit http://www.gallup.com/.

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