Survey Shows Massive Spike in Anti-Obamacare Opinion


The Kaiser Family Foundation publishes the monthly tracking poll that, practically speaking, serves as the canonical survey of public opinion about Obamacare. That's not to say that other surveys don't matter, or that the averages and aggregates aren't important; they are. But if you're only going to look at one number to gauge public opinion about the health law, this is it. 

This month's survey is out, and the news for Obamacare is bad. Really bad. So bad, in fact, that I'm not entirely sure I believe it.

In the last month, the survey reports an eight-point increase in unfavorable views of the health law, rising from 45 to 53 percent, and a two point drop in favorability from 39 down to 37. 

Unfavorables are at their highest point ever in the survey, and the gap between positive and negative views of the law is nearly as large as it has ever been. Here's Kaiser's graph:

Kaiser Family Foundation

I'm skeptical that this is anything more than a statistical abberation. The jump in unfavorables is too big, too fast; typical month to month variation is much smaller. And there's no obvious explanation for why we'd see a giant spike this month after several months in which negative views of the law softened slightly. This result will need to hold for several more months before I think it represents a real, large spike in negative opinion. 

That said, this isn't exactly good news for the law either, especially looked at in context. The size of the spike seems too big, but it suggests the direction public opinion is going post-open-enrollment. The trend is backed up by other polls.

According to the RealClearPolitics average, which combines the results of several other polls, opposition to the health law has increased since May, nearly equaling the negative opinion heights we saw last fall during the botched rollout of the exchanges. 


Even if, as I suspect, Kaiser's big spike in negative opinions about the law turns out to largely be a one-time blip related to their sample, the opinion trend here isn't positive. Democrats thought they had partially defused the law as a political issue in the wake of April's unexpectedly large last-minute sign-up surge, but this, combined with other polls of individual races, suggests that Obamacare is likely to continue to be a drag on the party when the mid-term elections arrive in November. 

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  1. Were any millennials polled?

    1. I tried poling several last night to no avail

            1. The psychic was a chick. So instead of turning gay, during the conversation with the late actresses of Golden Girls stardom, she went through menopause and began regaling the public with stories of her shriveled up snatch being violated by 70-somthing bald men with pictures of their deceased wife on the fireplace mantle.

              1. Go on…

  2. What I see is a steady increase in the unfavorable opinions from 2010 to 2014 and a corresponding steady decrease in favorables over the same period. With the more distasteful aspects of the law delayed until after the halfwit leaves office I imagine those slow steady trends will only accelerate.

    It is a giant turd, and they knew it when they wrote it and jammed it down our throats. The political class has nothing but contempt for us, and we should return the favor.

    1. I’m not so sure about “they knew it when they wrote it” — I think that implies a level of intelligence and self-awareness that doesn’t exist in the political class.

      I think most of them honest-to-god thought this law would cure cancer, sort of like Obama thought his mere presence would bring world peace when he couldn’t even bring the Olympics to Chicago.

      1. He brought peace to the world, cooled the atmosphere, lowered the seas, ensured equality for women, provided every person with cheaper health care and you quibble about the Olympics?

        1. Not me — the Olympics are a wasteful boondoggle. I’m happy for the people of Chicago that they weren’t saddled with it. And I was happy that Obama’s smug speech was met with yawns by the IOC and he was sent home empty-handed. Win-win.

      2. I also heard that the oceans were gona stop rising and the planet would begin to heal. What a jackass Obama is.

  3. Please repeal this law that a huge majority of us hate. I thought we were all about democracy and what the majority wants. Right, Democrats?

    1. Only when the majority has the right opinion.

      1. Ah, I see. So whose interest does this law serve if not a vast majority of the population’s?

        1. The insurance companies who get transition corridor bail out payments and guaranteed income as well as increased subscribership.

          1. Well, that’s interesting. The greatest good for the greatest insurers?

          2. Eh, the “bail out payments” are because the government is forcing insurers to accept high-risk members, so this is an inefficient top-down solution for spreading the risk. Don’t forget that some insurers will be payers into the temporary risk corridors, with the goal being that rates will stabilize on the exchanges (read: go up) as insurers get more information about the impact of these massive rule changes.

            I’m not sure any sane person would want to start up a health insurance business right now, except to take short-term advantage of the obvious loopholes by building market share with low-priced, crappy, narrow network plans so that people who actually need care flee to other insurers.

        2. Well, let’s see “everybody must buy a GM car at whatever price GM and the government agree to be fair”. Who do you think such a law would serve? Now replace “GM” with “health insurance companies, drug companies, and doctors”. Figured it out yet?

    2. Right…. “this is what democracy looks like.”

      Or how about that old HyR favorite: “Trust democracy”

      1. Our whole system is built upon a distrust of power over individuals, whether wielded by one, many, or even a majority. The Constitution is chock-full of antimajoritarian provisions.

    3. Except the majority do not want to repeal it, they just want to make it better. It’s right there in the Kaiser survey results.


  4. “eight-point increase”


    1. You have to appreciate such perfect coincidences in this world or it will consume you

  5. It looks like the free shit brigade might not be coming to save the day.

    1. I think that Halbig might have rained on their parade…

  6. Maybe the questions concerning about the legality of the subsidies is having an impact. That’s relatively new to those who don’t follow this stuff closely.

    What does Palin’s acne-scarred plug have to say. Paging Weeeiiiiiggggelllll.

    1. Allow me to register his entire contextual understanding of the world via proxy:

      FAKE SCANDALZ!1!!!


      1. You forgot to tell us that we’re racist who hate poor people.

        1. That’s more Tony’s bag.

    2. I wonder if this isn’t (at least partly) spill-over from all the rest of Obama’s recent bungling. Iraq is heading down the tubes, much of the rest of the world not looking so good, the economy still sucks, and the Camp of the Saints situation we’ve got on the border.

      “What’s your opinion of the President’s signature achievement?”

      “That guy sucks, along with everything he does!”

      1. I was wondering the same. “If it comes from Obama, it must be good!” is getting old and busted even among the Kos Kidz.

    3. Considering the number of people who signed up at the last minute, it might be.

      You have a large number of people who only signed up to avoid the penalty, bought the rock-bottom cheapest plan to minimize the cost to themselves, and now are wondering if they will be forced to fork over 2-3 times as much.

  7. Speculation on what might cause the spike:

    1. The Halbig ruling is making people nervous that they will have to pay back the subsidies. This uncertainy exposes people to the true cost of the insurance.

    2. Many people signed up at the last minute are starting to feel the pinch of having to shell out for health plans they aren’t using every month.

    3. Some people who bought the cheapest plans are discovering that they have a very narrow provider network , clinics are crowded and wait lists are long.

    On point 2, and 3, recall two facts, both touted by ACA supporters:
    1. 8 million sign ups (many at the last minute),
    2. A majority of signups ended up paying less than $60 out of pocket (or something thereabouts)

    Those two facts should lead one to conclude that a huge number of people bought the absolute rock-bottom cheapest plan. And those plans likely have the worst coverage and the narrowest networked.

    1. The Halbig ruling is making people nervous that they will have to pay back the subsidies. This uncertainy exposes people to the true cost of the insurance.

      Do you really think that many people are aware of the Halbig ruling? In my experience, there is one SCOTUS ruling every few years that is remembered, talked about (and less well understood by the people bloviating about it than string theory), and resonates with the sort of people that form opinion polling.

      A few years back it was Citizens United. Now it’s Hobby Lobby. Three years henceforth it will be whatever the court case is that prohibits a heterosexual from denying his anal virginity to a post-op tranny.

      1. Probably not, but a few people might have heard, especially people who don’t really want insurance and only bought it because it was heavily subsidized might be paying attention.

      2. Three years henceforth it will be whatever the court case is that prohibits a heterosexual from denying his anal virginity to a post-op tranny.

        Generally, I find many of your comments insightful. This one I find illuminating as to your own knowledge and character. As a transgender individual myself, I feel qualified to ‘break it down’ if you will..

        Let’s see. “post-op tranny” committing what appears to be homosexual rape against a heterosexual male. A “post-op tranny” in this case would have to be a functional transman (FtM). This is a highly unlikely scenario, based on the hundreds of trans* individuals I have met over the years, for any number of reasons.

        Quite frankly, it sounds like favored fantasy or porn material for you. I would challenge you to experience a life such as mine, in a world with attitudes such as yours.

        Perhaps in your arguments, you could find inanimate objects to use when you choose to denigrate groups of people, rather than using one type of person to denigrate another.

        1. Derp derp: http://www.merriam-webster.com…../hyperbole

        2. Wow, thin skinned much?

          1. Reading this, it’s clear my point was obscured in the argument. It had nothing to do with my ability to recognize hyperbole, (it obviously was), nor did it relate to me or trans people specifically, so no offense was possible or taken.

            My point was, would it not serve us better in discussion and even in hyperbole to utilize examples which do not require pitting one group or individual against another? Simply a way that perhaps we could return to the days when we could have vigorous discussion without insult.

            That’s all it was meant to expose and as it happened, the example used was not about a bi-racial, alternative religion politician locking up pure race people and ordering them to wear costumes. In that case, as I am not in any of those groups, so I might have felt my argument would have been weak.

    2. I think you give too much credit. The approximate 50% increase in the price of health insurance felt by the broad majority of people who don’t have an existing condition is the problem. Young mothers with cancer is great for selling the plan, but not when it costs what you were saving for my kids’ college every month, you know?

      1. That’s why the contraception mandate was critical. Preventing you from having any children to love, nuture, and safeguard the future for is critically important for getting you to just throw your hands up in the air and say “fuck it, let’s go full retard”.

        1. No, the contraception mandate is to buy women’s votes. Or at least make women feel like they aren’t losing anything. Hey, at least your getting some free birth control pills, for your money!

          1. Hazel, please send your sarc detector back to the manufacturer for recalibration.

      2. Well, that would have hit much sooner, at the start of the year.

        You gotta explain why there would be a spike just in the last month.

        1. No, this is the second year in a row that they’ve gone up and the rates for next year are beginning to get released.

        2. Looking at the RCP average, disapproval has been climbing steadily since the deadline for signing up.

          Could be that people are learning just what kind of crap they bought through the exchanges, are pissed they go railroaded into paying premiums, etc.

    3. True, I think the high deductibles (which Obamacare was supposed to end, LOL) and the difficulty of finding doctors is probably part of it.

    4. 4. Cancellation notices for the grandfathered individual plans are starting to roll in. Cf. Deroy Murdock today.

      Of course that depends on whether a large number of them went out within the last survey period, but it’s possible, and it could account for a point or two.

    5. And highest deductibles.

  8. When Obama was pushing the ACA he was probably stupid enough to think that whatever the Dems pushed through was going to be loved by the common folk. It seems that everything Obama touches turns into a complete clusterfuck. History will not be kind to his presidency, although like any other president, there will be those who will praise him not matter what.

    1. They control the schools and media. In 20 years people will think Obama personally invented modern medicine.

      1. And that will be true if this leads to socialized medicine.

      2. Putting lipstick on a pig only gets you so far.

      3. “In 20 years people will think Obama personally invented modern medicine.”

        And that he hits a dozen holes-in-one every time he hits the links.

  9. I think you mean SebiliusCare, comrade.

    1. It IS kind of funny how you can tell the polling isn’t going so great when ardent supporters start calling it “the ACA”.

  10. The main thing that has happened over the past few months is that people have signed up and are now covered under those magical Bronze, Silver and Gold plans on the exchanges.

    Maybe they started going to see their doctors, and found out that their network didn’t include them? Maybe they realized that a $5,000 deductible is like not being insured at all?

    I suspect many of them really miss their Junk Insurance plans by now. But, at least they have that metric shit-ton of free condoms to entertain themselves during the six-month wait for their treatment.

    1. I don’t know which excites me the most about the ACA’s effects–increasing my premiums 20%, doubling my deductibles, or setting off a chain-reaction of denied claims that weren’t denied as recently as last year.

      1. If I were a relatively low wage worker (or a waitress), I’d hate it for that rule that says they have to provide you with healthcare if you work more than 30 hours a week.

        I think a lot of people have had their hours cut because of that stupid rule.

        If I were one of those people, I’d hate ObamaCare for that. Because of ObamaCare, my boss cut my hours by 25%?

        Thanks you, Obama!

        1. “I think a lot of people have had their hours cut because of that stupid rule.”

          Yes, they have.

          And, of course, part-timers who could occasionally swing a little overtime for extra cash are now out of luck. Because what once amounted to a few extra bucks every couple paychecks is now a Sword of Damocles poised over the heads of your HR department.

      2. It was so nice when my small business employer got his health coverage terminated and switched to a company that now charges a large deductible rather than a reasonable co-pay.

        I bet Obamacare had nothing to do with it.

        And even if it didn’t have anything to do with it, if this is happening all over the place in the past month, what do you think people are blaming it on?

        1. What are people blaming it on?

          What are people blaming it on?!

          They’re blaming it on Israel, the Redskins, Hobby Lobby, the Second Amendment, and the Teahadis!

          What do you think they’re blaming it on, you racist?

          1. Who me? Why I…I didn’t blame anyone. I said it was “nice.” I was talking about other people. You see, I didn’t feel so bad about having to shell a ton of bucks before I hit a co-pay level that I’ve maybe hit over three years because it was my privilege that needed to be checked. That’s all I was sayin’.

            1. I should have done that in sarcasm font.

              1. No, I got it.

                I was going right back with it.

    2. Maybe they started going to see their doctors, and found out that their network didn’t include them?


      There are huge numbers of people out there who don’t understand how insurance works, and don’t realize that you can’t see any doctor you want under every plan.

      There are undoubtably also large numbers of people who never bothered to check to see if their doctor was in the network of the plan they were buying.

      1. What’s to check? My doctor and my prescriptions were in all my old plans. These new plans are better, right? So they must be included here, too.

        Buyers remorse takes time.

  11. April’s unexpectedly large last-minute sign-up surge,

    So, something that you have to do by law is taken by Democrats as a favorable view of said law?

    1. Yes. It’s just like how popular income tax is. Everyone loves it, because they pay it. Except for a few sad folks, but that’s okay, because it’s voluntary.

    2. Compliance is acceptance.

      A tax is not a penalty.

      We are allied with the insurance companies. We have always been allied with the insurance companies.

      1. War is peace. Slavery is freedom. We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

    3. In other news, people give money to the government on April 15th.

      1. And in such vast amounts that it makes the Danegeld seem altogether favorable.

      2. “Give” is an interesting word for it. Just for the record, I am paying my taxes under duress.

      3. Most just get repaid the interest free loan they were compelled to make to the IRS in installments over the previous year.

        1. Exactly. If we could just stop this, we’d have some serious political sway.

  12. I’ll be super fucking pissed if my employer based plan cuts certain non-mandated health coverages out of the benefits to control costs.

    As in murderous rage.

    1. We’ve started hording a bit because of this (like I now buy a year’s worth of contact lenses at a time). Just a matter of time, imho.

  13. Gee, no Mr. 8% to regal us with the wonders of O-care?

    1. You can’t judge him! You didn’t score as high on the Nolan chart as he did!

  14. Aside from polls relying on land lines, which essentially are older folk as kids rely on cell phones, this might explain something about that bad poll number: http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/assets…..re_ads.png

    1. Yeah, some made up chart from VOX will explain, uh, what?
      I’ve yet to see an ad against O-care; have you?

      1. “I’ve yet to see an ad against O-care; have you?”

        I’ve seen several. Hell, there was even one on my Xbox Live Welcome Menu for about a month. Some guy in a cheesy Uncle Sam costume was throwing money around an empty hospital room with text that read, “Obamacare: Making It Rain On Insurance Companies.”

        1. OK, first one I’d heard of. Do you know who paid for it?

    2. So the revealed preference (that’s what people pay for, after all) is…against Obamacare.

      You in the habit of providing decisive proof for your opponents?

  15. You already know what’s going to happen: everything will be blamed on not going to a full-blown single payer system and the low-info sloped forehead types will swallow that hook, line, and sinker.

  16. Is it possble that the sign up surge is now coming out of people’s pay checks?

    1. I think that the news that there might well not be subsidies is having an effect.
      I’m pretty sure the only thing that gave it any popularity was ‘free shit!’.

  17. It’s gonna be a drag on the socialist democratic party, and it’s candidates – I feel so bad for them.
    Hey Barry, welcome to Carter-ville. You seemed to have run the only stop sign and you are ready to enter Harding-ville, on your way to establishing your own standard for disastrous presidents in our history.
    The adolescence and rank amateurish administration you have is a total joke to the entire world.

  18. Why don’t then a majority of the people want to repeal the law, rather than just make it better? What does that really say about public opinion of Obamacare the law vs Obamacare the name?

    1. brichards|8.1.14 @ 8:27PM|#
      “Why don’t then a majority of the people want to repeal the law, rather than just make it better? What does that really say about public opinion of Obamacare the law vs Obamacare the name?”

      It mostly says that people don’t wanna put up with the bickering again.
      If it got repealed (as it might), I’m pretty sure people would be pleased, at least according to most every poll out there.

      1. I think I might agree with you. Most folks don’t want those Wisconsin type protesters hanging about in their capital cities. I’m in fairly left wing Oregon, which is actually a 50/50 mix of libertarian versus extreme liberal. Our Occupy movement was a bit more cautious than most about the country because we do have a “Farmer Bob” contingency that doesn’t kin to being inconvenienced by screeching morons. Farmer Bob is heavily armed and not overly caring and most of the cops are related to him.

      2. I tend to think it means people dislike the law by name but actually like a lot of the things it does.

  19. The more unemployed, uneducated, non high school graduates that are alive the more they will like ACA. Those of us who work and pay double what we used despise the law.

  20. And as I continually point out, Peter remains only selective as to what the poll says in addition to the points he likes to make.

    “…a STRONG MAJORITY of the public continues to prefer that their representative in Congress work on improving the law (60 percent) rather than working to repeal and replace it with something else (35 percent), shares that have been consistent over the last several months. Even among Republicans and those with an unfavorable view of the law, about a third would prefer to see the law improved rather than repealed and replaced (32 percent and 36 percent, respectively).”

    Even with Republicans its about a 50/50 split.

    And why doesn’t Peter inform readers of that? Because it doesn’t support his meme that the public wants government out of improving our health care system. Simple as that.

    1. Jackand Ace|8.2.14 @ 8:55AM|#
      “And as I continually lie…”

      Oh, good! Jack and Ace to show up with more lefty lies!

    2. Wait, are you seriously trying to make the suggestion that 50 percent of Republicans don’t want this thing repealed? There went any credibility you had with me.

      1. There went any credibility I had with you?

        I didn’t say that was just my opinion, I said its the result from the same exact poll that Peter uses above. By the way, that number has remained fairly consistent in Kaiser poll after Kaiser poll, so yes, that is what Republicans think.

        Why are you so surprised? Its a consistent belief for Republicans on so many issues of government sponsored health care. Tell me, how many Republicans want Medicare to go away? Hardly any.

        Your problem is that you think the Tea Party, particularly on health care, is representative of the entire GOP. Its not. Its a fringe.

  21. Suderman is a twit. So afraid to believe the obvious.

    By the time he’s comfortable in making a “yes or no” decision, our beautiful, fragile America will be destroyed.

  22. A $2,500 Increase instead if the $2,500 Decrease we were promised… reduced services… reduced access… panels of non-medical bean counters deciding your medical future… and this nightmare hasn’t even been fully implemented yet, that occurs 1 January 2015, conveinently after the Mid-Trem Elections. At which point Most people WILL be kicked off their employer coverage and have no recourse but Socialized Medicine.
    If you liked the treatment our veterans have been receiving at the VA, you’re going to love Obamacare!
    For those of us who work hard, pay our bills and have made something of our lives through the sweat of our brow, this is a lose-lose proposition, What’s there to like about this debacle? It would haves been far, far, far cheaper and much less intrusive to put the poor on Medicare/Medicare.

    The biggest insult is the transfer of wealth from we hard-working middle class legal Americans to the insurance companies in the form of subsidies for the money they are sure to lose, and don’t think this wasn’t all planned well-in advance, which is the only reason the insurance companies went along with it, they couldn’t lose.

    So your money is being redistributed to some of the very richest people in the country. Isn’t that special?

  23. What happened? Reality happened. People who actually try to use their shiny new plans have discovered that the bad stuff they were assured was just right-wing crazy-talk is actually happening to them.

    It’s also the time of year when people flexible spending accounts roll over. Money that you thought you’d use to defer costs, winnowed away by a flurry of refused reimbursements.

  24. Those charts are underwhelming, to say the least.

    The fact that the unfavorable opinion of Obamacare is not upward of 99% indicates a tragic epidemic of economic illiteracy in this country.

    No sense in celebrating a baby step when three miles still lie ahead.

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