Friday, December 6, 2013

New Gallup Poll on ACA Shows Shift to the Left among both Dems and Indies

Although conservatives will point out that the latest Gallup poll on the Affordable Care Act shows that a combined 52% of the public supports scaling back or repealing the health care law, if you look more into the numbers, you'll find that there has been a shift to the left among Democrats and Independents in support of more progressive health care reform.

In October, 46% of Democrats preferred to keep the law as is, and 21% wanted to expand it.
Now, in December, 34% of Democrats preferred to expand health care reform, and 31% wanted to keep it as is.

The 2% increase in Democrats who want to scale back the law and the 1% increase in Democrats who want to repeal it are statistically insignificant, given the 4% margin of error.

We see a similar shift to the left among Independents.

The percentages preferring to "keep the law as is" or "scale it back" fell by 1%--effectively, no change.

The percentage of Independents who wanted to repeal the law fell from 33% to 29%. That's just at the margin of error.

The real change, though, was in the increased support for expanding the law among Independents: a rise from 14% to 21%.

Just as Democrats and Independents registered leftward movement, Republicans registered rightward movement.

The percentage of Republicans wanting to expand the law fell by 2% (statistically insignificant). The percentage of Republicans wanting to keep the law as is fell by 5% (8% to 3%). The percentage wanting to scale it back fell by 4% (26% to 22%).

Those changes corresponded with an 11% shift among Republicans in favor of repeal: 57% to 68%. Thus, a supermajority of Republicans wants full repeal, but less than a third of the general public agrees.

I would have liked Gallup to poll specific forms of expanding the law and scaling it back. As examples of expansion, you could poll lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 55, a Medicare buy-in, a public option, single payer, and an NHS-style health care system. As examples of scaling back, you could ask people which part(s) of the law they want eliminated: the individual mandate, the employer mandate, the insurance marketplaces, the insurance subsidies, the Medicaid expansion, or other parts of the law. Those results could be very revealing.

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