Opinion on Obamacare drops only slightly: CNBC survey
The CNBC All-America Economic Survey finds a dismal approval rating for President Barack Obama's signature health-care law that may be most remarkable because it hasn't gotten substantially worse in the past three months.
Despite months of punishing headlines, the percentage of Americans with a favorable opinion of the Affordable Care Act declined to only 26 percent in December, from 29 percent in September.
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Negative attitudes rose just a point to 47 percent, and neutral attitudes dropped 2 points to 11 percent. But there was a 4-point rise in those who don't know enough to say or are unsure, rising to 16 percent.
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The survey of 800 Americans around the country, conducted by Hart-McInturff, a Democratic and Republican polling outfit, also found little change so far in the negative economic effects experienced by Americans from the law. The percentage of Americans who said their hours were cut because of the new health-care law rose 1 point to 4 percent. Just 3 percent said they lost their insurance due to Obamacare, the same percentage as in September. Those who said they obtained health insurance for the first time rose 1 point to 8 percent.
Inside the details of that answer is some suggestion that the law might be having a positive effect on one group targeted by the law. While just 8 percent of Americans said they obtained health coverage for the first time in the past year, the level is 19 percent among those with incomes below $30,000.
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Significantly, just 2 percent of this group thought they received their health care because of the new law. It's possible that some in this group benefited from Medicaid expansion and did not attribute that to the new law. It is equally possible they got health care through new jobs or some other means.
The data also showed very high levels of "don't knows" among certain key groups. While 16 percent of the overall population responded either "don't know" or "unsure" on whether they approve of Obamacare, the level is nearly a third for nonwhites and those with incomes under $30,000. A fifth of women, Democrats and those between 18- and 34-years-old also responded that they don't know enough to answer the question.
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Meanwhile, just 4 percent of Republicans fall into that group. By an overwhelming 85 percent majority, Republicans have negative attitudes toward Obamacare.
—By CNBC's Steve Liesman. Follow him on Twitter: @steveliesman.