A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds that a drop in enthusiasm among Democrats has soured the public on the Affordable Care Act, with 51 percent of respondents now saying they dislike the law and only 34 percent in favor of it. The scores represent the law’s highest unfavorability rating in the 19 months the Kaiser Family Foundation has been tracking public opinion and shows a dramatic 8 percent drop in favorability for the month of October:
Democrats’ lack of enthusiasm is behind the low numbers, Kaiser found, as support among party dropped from 65 percent to 52 percent in just one month:
Kaiser attributes the low numbers to the general dissatisfaction with the direction of the country and the GOP’s “heavy criticism of the law during recent debates.” The poll also found that health care reform is low on the list of issues that deserve more attention, as economy and jobs are still driving the national conversation and remain central to voters’ concerns.
Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it was abandoning CLASS (the Affordable Care Act’s long-term care program), a development that received widespread press attention and may have raised frustrations among the law’s strongest advocates — including some Democrats in Congress. The Obama administration’s willingness to defend the law in the upcoming campaign, however, suggests that support among Democrats will likely rebound.
Diane Webber of Kaiser Health News tweets that the poll’s timing closely corresponded with the wave of negative media attention about CLASS. HHS announced it would not be implementing the program on October 14th and Kaiser polled respondents between October 13th and 18th.