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Kaiser Health Tracking Poll — October 2011

The October health tracking poll finds a more negative overall public mood about the health reform law, driven largely by changes in support for the law among Democrats. The poll also asked the public’s impressions of the Massachusetts health reform law enacted under then- Gov. Mitt Romney, who is now a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Findings from the poll include:

  • After remaining roughly evenly split for most of the last year and a half, this month’s tracking poll found more of the public expressing negative views towards the law. In October, about half (51%) say they have an unfavorable view of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), while 34 percent have a favorable view, a low point in Kaiser polls since the law was passed. While Democrats continue to be substantially more supportive of the law than independents or Republicans, the change in favorability this month was driven by waning enthusiasm for the law among Democrats, among whom the share with a favorable view dropped from nearly two-thirds in September to just over half (52%) in October.
  • Americans are more than twice as likely this month to say the law won’t make much difference for them and their families as they are to say they’ll be better off under the law. Forty-four percent say health reform won’t make much difference to them personally, up from 34 percent in September. Meanwhile 18 percent say they and their families will be better off, down from 27 percent last month. (The share who thinks they’ll be worse off personally held steady at roughly three in ten, where it has been since the law passed in 2010.) Here, too, changes in views among Democrats helped shape the overall change.
  • The survey finds that nearly three quarters of the public, including seven in ten likely Republican presidential primary voters, say they don’t know enough about the Massachusetts law to have either a favorable or unfavorable opinion of it. A similar share of the public (71%) cannot say whether the law is similar to, or different from, the national health reform law.

The October poll is the latest in a series designed and analyzed by the Foundation’s public opinion research team.

Findings (.pdf)

Toplines (.pdf)