PRINCETON, NJ -- Despite the occurrence of major technical glitches with the healthcare exchange website in the weeks since it went live, Americans' assessments of the future impact of the healthcare law have not changed much since August. Americans remain more likely to say the law will make the U.S. healthcare situation and their family's healthcare situation worse rather than better. Roughly one in three Americans still believe that the law will not make much difference for their family.
These results come from a Gallup poll conducted Oct. 26-28.
Americans are now slightly more likely to say they are "very familiar" with the healthcare law, officially known as the Affordable Care Act and unofficially known as "Obamacare," than they were in August, but the percentage who say they are "somewhat familiar" with the law has declined concomitantly. As a result, the 68% of Americans who are at least somewhat familiar with the healthcare law is unchanged from August.
Americans' approval of the healthcare law has also been relatively steady -- varying between 41% and 45% -- in four measures taken over the past four months. Gallup surveys conducted Oct. 18-20 and Oct. 26-28 show a smaller gap between the percentage who disapprove and the percentage who approve compared with last summer. This reinforces the finding Gallup has previously reported that the federal shutdown and health exchange problems to date have not caused Americans to have a more negative view of the healthcare law. Still, Americans remain slightly more likely to disapprove than approve of the healthcare law overall.
The healthcare law has been in the spotlight during the recent government shutdown and as the federal health exchange website has experienced significant technical problems since it opened on Oct. 1. Still, Americans' perceptions of the future impact of the healthcare law and their familiarity with it have been stable over the last several months, and approval of the law has varied within a narrow range.
It appears that Americans' views on the law are relatively fixed at the moment, leaving open the question of whether support will rise once the law's provisions are fully implemented and more uninsured Americans get health insurance.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 26-28, 2013, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 1,530 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by region. Landline and cell telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, and cellphone mostly). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2012 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the July-December 2011 National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the 2010 census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.
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.
For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.