CREDIT: Charles Dharapak/AP
Even among the Americans who say they’re opposed to Obamacare, there’s not necessarily widespread support for Republican efforts to dismantle the entire law, according to the results from a new poll conducted by the Pew Research Center and USA Today.
About 42 percent of the people who say they disapprove of health reform think that public officials “should do what they can to make the law fail,” while a narrow majority — 51 percent — actually believes that lawmakers should do what they can to make Obamacare work.
And that’s just among the people who don’t like Obamacare to begin with. When put into context of the general population, researchers found that amounts to just 23 percent of Americans who want to undermine the health law to make it fail:
Even when the results are broken down by party lines, there isn’t necessarily widespread GOP support for sabotaging Obamacare. About 85 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning voters say they don’t like the law, but just 43 percent of that group actually want their lawmakers to work to make it fail. On the other hand, 37 percent think the law’s opponents should try to make it work as best as possible.
The Pew/USA Today poll does find one pocket of broad support for undermining Obamacare, however: Tea Party Republicans. A big contrast emerges between those far-right conservatives and more mainstream GOP voters. Sixty four percent of Tea Partiers who oppose the law want elected officials to try to make it fail — an approach that’s favored by just 31 percent of the Republican voters who say they don’t align themselves with the Tea Party.
That contrast is reflected in the current political fight over Obamacare in Congress. While some far-right Tea Party members have pushed to defund Obamacare by shutting down the federal government, that radical approach doesn’t have the support of their more mainstream colleagues. Over the past month, Republican leadership has moved to distance itself from the hard line Tea Partiers who continue to advocate for defunding the health law. And another recent poll found that just seven percent of Republican voters actually favor trying to block Obamacare by stripping funding from it.
Health reform’s opponents typically tout Obamacare’s unpopularity, and it’s certainly true that the health law doesn’t poll well. But that’s likely because of the politicized controversy swirling around the law as a whole. Research has consistently found that people are still confused about what Obamacare actually does — something that the new Pew/USA Today findings confirm yet again. But there tends to be broad support for many of Obamacare’s individual provisions, which people don’t necessarily realize are due to the law.