Three-quarters of Republicans favor repeal; 64% of Democrats oppose it
PRINCETON, NJ -- Americans do not strongly endorse the new Republican House majority's efforts to repeal the landmark healthcare legislation passed last year. A new Gallup poll finds that 46% of Americans want their representative in Congress to vote to repeal the healthcare law, 40% want their representative to vote to let the law stand, and 14% have no opinion.
Gallup conducted the Jan. 4-5 poll as the new Congress elected last fall began its work. Republicans' gains in the 2010 midterm elections were partly the result of voter frustration with the growth in the size of government, exemplified by the new healthcare law President Obama signed into law last March. Republican congressional leaders vowed to attempt to overturn the law as one of their first acts after taking majority control of the U.S. House of Representatives. However, with Democrats still in control of the Senate, it is unlikely a repeal would pass both houses of Congress, and President Obama would surely veto it if it does.
Americans' broadly divided opinions on repealing the healthcare legislation are in line with Gallup polling from much of the past two years that showed the bill struggling to gain majority public support both before and shortly after its passage. Polls conducted more recently have shown Americans generally more opposed to than in favor of the healthcare law.
The current poll finds the vast majority of Republicans, 78%, in favor of repealing the law, underscoring the degree to which the new Republican leadership is attempting to represent the views of its supporters. Meanwhile, Democrats oppose repeal (64%), but not to the same extent that Republicans favor it. Independents are almost evenly divided in their views, with a substantial proportion (18%) not having an opinion.
Americans' opinions on repealing the healthcare legislation are in keeping with their generally divided views on healthcare reform throughout the process leading up to its passage. The consistency of opinion indicates that Americans' views on healthcare reform have been fairly fixed, and little that has occurred legislatively or politically in the past year has affected their views.
While the chances that the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives will successfully repeal the healthcare law are slim, the party is nevertheless taking action that its core supporters favor.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Jan. 4-5, 2011, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 1,025 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each daily sample includes a minimum quota of 200 cell phone respondents and 800 landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, cell-phone-only status, cell-phone-mostly status, and phone lines. Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2010 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.
The questions reported here were asked of a random half-sample of respondents for two nights on the Gallup Daily tracking survey.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.