Poll: Most Americans support health law or think it’s not liberal enough

By Sahil Kapur
Wednesday, March 23, 2011 12:44 EDT
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On the one year anniversary of the enactment of health care reform, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll found Wednesday that most Americans either support the law or wish it were more liberal, contradicting the narrative that the the law reflects government overreach.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they support the Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act, while while 59 percent were opposed. Of those who disapproved, 13 percent fretted that it wasn’t liberal enough, while 43 percent thought it was too liberal.

In other words, 50 percent of the nation supports the law or wants it to be more liberal, while 43 percent opposes it on the grounds that it goes too far, according to the survey.

“It’s worth remembering that opposition to the bill came from both the left and the right last year, and that has not changed either,” said Keating Holland, CNN’s Polling Director.

Yet one year in, Democrats remain dogged by polling that shows the law to be unpopular overall. Democrats argue that the law is already benefiting Americans — partly by closing the Medicare doughnut hole, offering tax deductions for employers who provide health care, and banning insurance companies from discriminating against sick patients.

Republicans won dramatic victories in last November’s Congressional elections, largely by deriding the law as a grave intrusion of government power, and promising to try and repeal it as well as wage legal challenges against its constitutionality.

House Republicans have successfully voted to repeal the law, but the effort is a non-starter in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The GOP has also won victories on lawsuits declaring the measure’s individual mandate unconstitutional, a case that’s widely expected to reach the Supreme Court.

The Obama administration and Democratic leaders have pledged to stick up for the law against all challenges to its implementation.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll surveyed 1,012 people by telephone between March 18-20. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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