Americans say: Make Obamacare work

Opponents of Obamacare are far from a united front.

We’ve long seen that, while more oppose than support the law, some opponents think the law “went too far” while others say it “didn’t go far enough.” And when you combine supporters with those who say it didn’t do enough, there are clear majorities for a policy that’s at least as ambitious and robust as the Affordable Care Act.

And now we see opponents again divided, this time between those who want to destroy Obamacare and those who want to make it work. 

Note these data from a recent Pew poll:

53% of the public are ACA opponents, but 27% want elected officials who oppose the law to try to make it work better. Only 23% want them to try to make it fail.

If you combine the 27% who want efforts to improve the law with the 42% who approve of the ACA, a resounding 69% of the population support retaining the ACA in some form.

One group that really stands out are Tea Party supporters. When you break down Republicans between Tea Party supporters and others, only the Tea Party ones want elected officials to make the law fail.

Again, see the Pew data:

Look over at the third and fourth columns.

You’ll see that 64% of Republican and Republican-leaning Tea Party opponents of the ACA want elected officials to make it fail. Yet just 31% — less than half the numbers of the Tea Party group — of other Republicans and Republican-leaning individuals who oppose the ACA want their representatives to undermine the law.

Again, the Tea Party group is different from everyone else. Among Republicans opposed to the law, more non-Tea Party supporters favor improving the law to make it work as well as possible (44%) than want to make it fail (31%).

Perhaps this is why a number of Republicans are pushing back on efforts to dismantle Obamacare. In a closed door session among Republicans on Capitol Hill, a staffer for Texas Senator Ted Cruz was told, “You’re not dealing in reality.”

To be sure, the Affordable Care Act is not broadly popular at this time. But there is also not support for getting rid of it.

Instead, most Americans say: Make Obamacare work.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.