In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senator Mike Lee and a dozen of his Republican colleagues wrote that they “believe[d] the only way to avert disaster is to fully repeal Obamacare and start over with a more sensible, practical approach to reforming our healthcare system.” They plan to vote against a continuing resolution that funds further implementation or enforcement of Obamacare. How much support is there for repeal and starting over?
Views on the law: Most polls show that more Americans disapprove of Obamacare than approve. In a June Gallup poll, for example, 52% disapproved while 44% approved. In a July NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 34% said Barack Obama’s health care plan was a good idea and 47% a bad one. In the July CBS News poll, 36% approved, while 54% disapproved. The Kaiser Family Foundation asks people about the strength of their feelings, and around 30% in monthly surveys since April 2010 say they have very unfavorable views of the law. Only 15% now have very favorable views. But disapproval does not equal repeal or starting over. On this point, the polls are more complicated.
Consequences: In the NBC/WSJ poll, 45% said that if Republicans in Congress believe the health care law is harmful and will have negative consequences for individuals, small business, and the economy they should continue to do everything they can to prevent it from being put into effect, while 51% said now that Obamacare is the law and the Supreme Court has upheld it, that Republicans should stop trying to block it and move on to other priorities. In a Fox News July poll of registered voters, 40% said that if they were given the opportunity to vote, they would vote to keep it in place, while 53% said they would vote to repeal.
Congressional action: In the CBS poll, when asked what they would like Congress to do about the law, 20% said expand it, 16% keep the entire law as it is, 18% repeal the part of the law that requires Americans to obtain health insurance, but keep the rest of the law intact, while 39% wanted to repeal the entire law.
Fox has asked a four-part question, too, and finds similar results in its latest poll from June. In it, 19% wanted to leave the law as it is, 17% expand it, 19% repeal parts of it, and 39% repeal all of it. The “leave as is” and “expand” responses have been remarkably stable in the nine earlier identical questions.
Our bottom line: Based on close readings of hundreds of polls on health care, we believe that somewhere between 30% and 40% are probably hard supporters of repeal.