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Posted at 2:12 PM ET, 01/14/2011

Poll: More want health law expanded than fully repealed

By Greg Sargent

Earlier this month, some on the right got very excited by a Gallup poll finding that a plurality, 46 percent, want the health law repealed, versus only 40 percent who want to keep it in place. That poll, however, only presented two options: Repeal, or let the law stand as is.

Today brings a new Marist poll that takes a more fine grained look at public attitudes towards repeal, and its results are quite different. No one should be under any illusions: The health law is unpopular. But the picture is complicated. Marist:

Which one of the following comes closest to your opinion about what Congress should do with the 2010 health care law:

Let it stand: 14

Change it so it does more: 35

Change it so it does less: 13

Repeal it completely: 30

More registered voters want the law expanded than fully repealed, with the latter category amounting to less than a third. A total of 49 percent want to let it stand or change it so it does more, versus 43 percent who want to scale it back or get rid of it entirely.

The flip side of this argument, of course, is that the law isn't going to be expanded anytime soon, and the 43 percent who want it cut back or repealed is uncomfortably high -- higher than many of us thought it would be.

Again, there's no quibbling with the fact that the health law is unpopular in an overall sense. The point, though, is that the law can be unpopular for more than one reason. And it's not clear that its unpopularity translates directly into support for full repeal. If anything, public opinion about the law remains volatile and complicated, which elevates the stakes for the coming repeal battle and suggests Dems may have a second chance to sell the public on the law, even if the success of that effort is anything but assured.

By Greg Sargent  | January 14, 2011; 2:12 PM ET
Categories:  Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers  
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Next: War of the talking points!


first the good news...
Sarah Palin is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the Safari Club International (SCI) gun convention on Jan. 29. "

then the bad news...
"According to the organization's Web site, the event is sold out."

That's just life I guess.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 14, 2011 2:17 PM | Report abuse

In a way, *even I* want HCR expanded. I'd like to see something done about reducing the cost of health care.

Posted by: sbj3 | January 14, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Do these polls ever give their respondents an indication of what is in the Healthcare bill? I suspect that many who say they want it repealed either have no idea what the full content is, or have misleading ideas of what's included.

And the 30% that want repeal are probably the same 30% who still think GWB was a great President.

Posted by: WallysSon | January 14, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

@sbj - look north, young man

Posted by: bernielatham | January 14, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

and this is off topic but, really, what sort of name is Reince Priebus?

Posted by: bernielatham | January 14, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

@bernie: Costs are lower in Mexico, too.

Posted by: sbj3 | January 14, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

@sbj - and outcomes?

Posted by: bernielatham | January 14, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

The public option was popular among many Americans. This poll would seem to at least hint at the possibility that many people wish the bill could be expanded in that direction. I think Democrats would be having a much easier time defending this bill if they had been able to include a public option.

Posted by: elscott | January 14, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Wallysson, when individual provisions of the bill are polled directly, they do very well. Of course, that doesn't provide the whole picture, because the bill is far more than the sum of its popular parts.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 14, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Democrats better start to capture the news cycles on what The House majority are going to do to health care.

They need to pound home the fact that Republicans are going to pass an act to provide:

Coverage For The Healthy And Wealthy Only.

Someone move that potted plant, Tim Kaine, out of his office, and get us someone with a pulse, to replace him.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Keep the Jobs and Health Care bill.

Posted by: AllButCertain | January 14, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

The GOP,

No Health Care For The Sick, and The Poor, act.

Someone wake Tim Kaine up and ask him to delegate his job to someone with has a clue.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Why hasn't the DNC organized a mass rally of families who had been denied coverage, and those who have been losing their homes to pay medical bills, to come to Washingon to demonstrate at the House, next week, just like the Republican Minority brought The Tea Party to protest the health care reform vote.

I sure wish I had not wasted my money, putting Tim Kaine's picture on milk cartons all over the country.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

If the RNC wants to elect somebody who will fade into the background, I'd like to donate Tim Kaine.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 14, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Latest from the RNC vote, btw, Tim Kaine is already out of the running, the reason: failure to appear.

"The results of the third round of balloting are in, and it's not that different from before. Mr Priebus remains on top with 54 votes and Mr. Steele remains in second with 33. Ms Wagner, who was on the bottom in the first round, has moved into third -- just a vote behind Mr. Steele. Ms. Cino is in fourth place and Mr. Anuzis is still on the bottom."

Go Michael!

Posted by: shrink2 | January 14, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

The Delicious Healthcare With The Creamy Center Destruction Bill.

But here's something cute. The Heritage Foundation works up a yearly index of nations measuring (you might say) their "economic freedom" level. America, you'll be sad to hear, is slipping, with a fall from sixth to eleventh in two short years! A chorus of gasps, please.

Who snookers the US of A? I thought you'd never ask. In order of Heritage Foundation Utopianhood and descending, we have...

Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Ireland and Denmark.

"First, Hong Kong and Singapore are city-states, and, according to The Economist, hybrid regimes -- somewhere between a weak democracy and an authoritarian regime.

Other than Hong Kong and Singapore, the other countries ahead of the United States are all strong social democracies. In other words, they are the very places that both the Heritage Foundation and the editors of the Wall Street Journal consider evil: nations supposedly teetering on the cusp of socialism, where taxes are at near-exorbitant rates. Worse, in all of these states, there is some form of socialized medicine and, in some instances, mandated health insurance.

What gives? It's almost as if the Index of Economic Freedom is an arbitrary exercise and not really about economic freedom at all."

And this stands rather at odds to HF propaganda on healthcare, yes?

Posted by: bernielatham | January 14, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Failure to reince one's priebus can result in a nasty infection.

Posted by: jprestonian | January 14, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse


The Heritage Foundation better take another look at Ireland. It has become an economic basket case.

Back when The Celtic Tiger was roaring, Republicans were calling for America to cut taxes because Ireland's success was because of they having the lowest corporate tax rates in the developed world.

Now, that the Celtic Tiger has suffered a massive stroke, and is being kept alive with an IMF feeding tube, in his throat;

Strangely enough: The Republicans have not called for the USA to not emulate Ireland, because it would put us at the mercy of the IMF.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

This could spread to other countries, where despots rule.

"36 mins ago

TUNIS, Tunisia – Violent anti-government protests drove Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from power Friday after 23 years of iron-fisted rule, as anger over soaring unemployment and corruption spilled into the streets.

Thousands of demonstrators from all walks of life mobbed the capital of Tunis to demand Ben Ali's ouster, the culmination of weeks of protests that have swept the country. Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi went on state television to announce that he is assuming power in this North African nation known for its wide sandy beaches and ancient ruins.

The shakeup was certain to have repercussions in the Arab world and beyond — as a sign that even a leader as entrenched and powerful as Ben Ali could be brought down by massive public outrage"

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

All, looks like Dems are fighting over what talking point to use to describe the GOP's repeal push:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 14, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Do these polls ever give their respondents an indication of what is in the Healthcare bill? I suspect that many who say they want it repealed either have no idea what the full content is, or have misleading ideas of what's included."

Excellent point. For instance, most people have been misled into believing the ACA will reduce the deficit, provide more care than was previously available, and reduce the average cost of care (or 'bend the curve', in Obama's words).

If people were correctly told of the fuzzy math used to claim 'deficit reduction', and that they have a high likelihood of losing their preferred doctor if all the reforms are implemented....I agree with you that the poll numbers would change dramatically.

Posted by: dbw1 | January 14, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

@jprestonian - that was cute.

@Liam - I know. Entirely weird rankings. I suppose I could go to their site and try to make sense of it but that seems rather like taking apart a Lada to investigate the engineering.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 14, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"The Republicans have not called for the USA to not emulate Ireland, because it would put us at the mercy of the IMF."

Ummmm, we are the IMF. Without the capital provided by the US, the IMF ceases to exist as any sort of financial backstop for other countries.

Posted by: dbw1 | January 14, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

"Why hasn't the DNC organized a mass rally of families who had been denied coverage, and those who have been losing their homes to pay medical bills..."

I dunno, probably because we were all misled as to the scope of the 'crisis' Democrats claimed to solve with the ACA?

No one ever said there weren't people who were slipping through the cracks, but the 'mass' of people who were supposedly dying in the streets because of Republicans and the lack of universal care was simply non-existent...hence why you would have a hard time filling a bus for the trip to D.C.

The ACA was passed using Clinton-era tactics (effectively, I might add)....create the appearance of a non-existent 'crisis', then swoop in with the convenient all-problems-solved solution that advances your idealogical agenda.

Posted by: dbw1 | January 14, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Well thank God we are the IMF, because I am sure Republicans will not object to raising the debt ceiling to keep funding bailout loans for other countries.

This could real become surreal. America borrows money to give to the IMF to have them come in and bailout America, while imposing crippling regulations, just like they have done to other nations.

I think you should have said that China is the IMF, since that is where the USA borrows the money from, to finance the IMF.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

dbw....Wow dude what country do you live in?

You must be one of those fortunate wealthy R' about a dose of reality that your standard...until people die in the you're all heart. wife and I are blessed to be healthy and without any preexisting conditions...using a broker and working the "free market" LMAO as best we could we are paying $23,000 annually in premiums with $4,000 deductibles across the board resulting in a simple kidney stone costing me $5,000 on top of the premiums last year.
No health care means my wife and I have to work till Medicare age in order to be able to have any coverage. We are both successful professionals who statistically are in the upper middle class....

Our small company certainly can't afford insurance for our employees...and you R's are always mouthing platitudes about small business but you really don't care squat, unless it's one of the bogus Koch companies that technically get classified as "small" companies by bizarre rules.

Nobody wants to give their Medicare back...nobody anywhere in the rest of the civilized world wants to trade their single payer, or socialized system for our idiotic system.

Again look at this weekends disaster...the shooter was not poor enough for Medicaid...old enough for Medicare..and too old to stay on his parents policy until the ACA just kicked has been so correctly pointed out by shrink the only way for these type of mentally ill people to get help is to commit a crime!

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 14, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I think it's funny that Repubs are going to make the same mistake Democrats made by fighting about health care reform during bad economic times. If the economy was in good shape during the health care debate last year Democrats would not be in the position they are in now.

Posted by: beerose | January 14, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Nice Orwellian speak there dude ... let's put the poll in layman non spin terms shall we ?? ... 43 percent for less ... 35 percent for more ... 14 percent the same ... any way you slice it a majority remain opposed ... quit spinning the polls already this law is a t u r d ...

Posted by: cunn9305 | January 14, 2011 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Wed. night the President rose to the occasion in every way. He delivered a healing, uplifting speech, that called on us all to try our best. I am so grateful to have him as my President.

As I read over his remarks

"As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let’s use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together."

I was reminded of the issue of mental illness. Lost in the finger pointing and hysteria is the tragic fact that a young man was deeply troubled, everyone knew it, and no one was able to help.

I invite you to visit my blog post on Health Care Reform and Mental Illness, and offer a comment.

Posted by: whatisworking | January 14, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry but America is a sick country, dont think for a second you are a "light" on the world anymore. Those days are gone. We dont want your guns, your violence and now you want to take away healthcare for all?

WTF is wrong with you people?

Posted by: Chops2 | January 14, 2011 6:51 PM | Report abuse


I suspect that you are twisting facts and who exactly recognizes Marist as an impartial and accurate polling organization.

Still, the bottom line is that you get inaccurate political predictions if you simply ask if a respondent wants (socialized) health care expanded...unless you also ask if they are willing to pay their fair share, which is probably 10% of their salary.

uUntil Democrats, and the mainstream press, stop twisting facts and stop presenting half truths, the middle class will continue to abandon them. It seems all 4 cornerstones of the Democratic platform and mainstream reporting are built on financial quicksand.

Posted by: ELF2 | January 14, 2011 8:51 PM | Report abuse

This old joke article doesn't affect the lay voter. We are voiceless and know The new Health Care Law is better for our country yesterday, today and tomorrow. It's just old hammering at the absurd. The People are against it. Balderdash!!!

Posted by: CTaylor42 | January 16, 2011 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Do these polls ever give their respondents an indication of what is in the Healthcare bill? I suspect that many who say they want it repealed either have no idea what the full content is, or have misleading ideas of what's included.

And the 30% that want repeal are probably the same 30% who still think GWB was a great President.

Posted by: WallysSon


Bush was a great President compared to the muslim traitor we have now. Tell me WallysSon, are we better off since hussein obama has been in office?

Also, how is Uncle Beaver doing these days?

Posted by: COOLCHILLY | January 16, 2011 6:46 AM | Report abuse

How could anyone have an opinion on health care? I couldn't hear the debate above the slogan screaming!Here is a fact.A friend has occasional bouts of crippling nausea.She had to visit a hospital recently for re-hydration and medicine to control the nausea here in the states, the bill was $1,200.While visiting her friend in Australia a similar incident happened and her bill for the exact same treatment was $125.00. As long as we are content to scream insults at each other we'll pay the price.

Posted by: dahlimama | January 16, 2011 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I don't know why this is news. At the time the law was first proposed, over 2/3 of the country wanted single payor. That same percentage was willing to settle for a public option. When BOTH proposals were arbitrarily gutted, for absolutely no reason at all, the bill that finally passed left everyone with a brain feeling completely screwed. And so we were. It was another gov't subsidy for another U.S. industry that our taxes are now financing. Only a complete idiiot would wonder why this healthcare "reform" (more like re-finance) is unpopular.

Posted by: dgvb55 | January 16, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Why does this newspaper and others believe this is journalism? The industry had standards in the past that limited the number of letters to the editor a person could have published to a specific time period (one week, one month), limited the kind of content to what was thoughtful opinion (not venom and hate filled speech), and did not allow these kinds of instant responses by people reacting, not thinking. The nasty responses to Michelle Obama's letter to the editor were sickening. How can this be called journalism? Please stop this!

Posted by: josepha1 | January 17, 2011 8:35 AM | Report abuse

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