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News Release | Americans Divided Over the Fate of Health Care Reform

[06.27.2012]

Plurality of Americans Oppose the Supreme Court Overturning the Affordable Care Act

Deep divisions among genders, racial and political groups exist

WASHINGTON – As the nation waits for the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, a new survey finds that overall, more than 4-in-10 Americans (43 percent) oppose a move by the Supreme Court to overturn the recent health care law, while 35 percent favor this action. More than 1-in-5 (21 percent) Americans have no opinion about the impending Supreme Court ruling.

However, according to the June 2012 Religion & Politics Tracking Survey conducted by Public Religion Research Institute, there are substantial divisions on this issue by gender, race, and political affiliation.

“More Americans than not oppose action by the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act,” said Dr. Robert P. Jones, PRRI CEO. “But it’s important to remember that a significant number simply don’t offer an opinion, indicating that many Americans simply may not know what it would mean for the law to be upheld or overturned.”

Women, for example, are more likely than men to oppose the Supreme Court overturning the health care law (48 percent vs. 39 percent). Additionally, a strong majority (63 percent) of black Americans oppose action by the Supreme Court to overturn the health care law, while white Americans are nearly evenly divided, with 40 percent opposed and 41 percent in support.

Additionally, the survey revealed interesting splits by religious affiliation. A strong majority (60 percent) of minority Christians oppose the Supreme Court overturning the health care law. More Catholics show support for upholding the law than for overturning it (46 percent vs. 36 percent). White mainline Protestants are more divided, with 34% in opposition to the Supreme Court overturning the law, and 44% in favor. A majority (52 percent) of white evangelical Protestants favor the Supreme Court overturning the health care law.

“Although the public is divided over which result they would prefer in the upcoming Supreme Court ruling, most Americans say health care policy requires a national response,” said Daniel Cox, PRRI Research Director. “A majority believe that health care policy should be decided at the federal level, while fewer than 4-in-10 say it should be left up to the states.”

More than 6-in-10 Democrats (62 percent) and nearly half (47 percent) of Independents prefer that the Supreme Court uphold the health care law, while a solid majority (61 percent) of Republicans favor overturning the law. More than 7-in-10 (71 percent) Tea Party members favor the Supreme Court overturning the health care law, with 57 percent saying they would strongly favor this action.

Among the other findings:

  • Nearly 6-in-10 (57 percent) Americans agree that health care reform policy should be decided at the national level, while 39 percent say it should be decided at the state level.
  • Three-quarters (76 percent) of Democrats and 57 percent of Independents agree that health care reform policy should be decided at the national level. By contrast, a majority (56 percent) of Republicans say that health care reform policy should be decided at the state level.
  • Around two-thirds of black Americans (67 percent) agree that health care reform policy should be decided at the national level. White Americans are more divided, with a slim majority (52 percent) agreeing that health care reform policy should be decided at the national level, while 43 percent say it should be decided on the state level.

Read the Topline Questionnaire, including the survey methodology here.
 
The survey was designed and conducted by Public Religion Research Institute. Results of the survey were based on bilingual (Spanish and English) RDD telephone interviews conducted between June 20, 2012 and June 24, 2012 by professional interviewers under the direction of Social Science Research Solutions (SSRS). Interviews were conducted among a random sample of 1,022 adults 18 years of age or older in the continental United States (312 respondents were interviewed on a cell phone). The margin of error for the entire sample is +/- 3.5 percentage points at the 95% level of confidence. The margin of error for the subset of registered voters is +/- 3.8 percentage points at the 95% level of confidence.

Public Religion Research Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization specializing in research at the intersection of religion, values, and public life.