The top-line results aren’t especially surprising: 54% of the country opposes the health care law, according to the new figures, while 43% support it. But the CNN poll, to its credit, takes the next step and asked folks opposed to the law why they don’t like it. And that’s the point at which the poll gets interesting.
I put together this chart to help drive the point home – 43% support “Obamacare,” which isn’t that bad, all things considered. But while a majority of the country opposes the law, there’s a major disagreement among them – 35% of opponents believe it’s too liberal and prefer a more conservative law, but 16% of opponents believe the Affordable Care Act is too conservative and wish it had gone further.
A quick glance at the top lines, in other words, gives the wrong impression. Indeed, it’s rather misleading to lump together those 16% of Americans who want a more liberal health care reform law with the law’s conservative critics.
Kevin Drum summarized the results in an accurate way, which is largely the opposite of what you’ll see in most of the published reports: “According to a recent poll, 59 percent of Americans support Obamacare, while 35 percent oppose it. Among supporters, 43 percent support the law as is, while 16 percent think it doesn’t go far enough.”