Poll: Public divided over healthcare website

A narrow plurality believes the problems plaguing the HealthCare.gov website are temporary — but the public remains largely divided, according to a new poll.  

A new NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll found 37 percent of people think the glitches on the main website to access the individual health exchanges is a short-term problem that can be easily resolved. 

But nearly equal numbers are either uncertain or think it is a sign of deeper trouble. Thirty-one percent of people believe the glitchy website is a long-term problem signaling deeper trouble for the rollout. And 30 percent think it is too soon to tell nearly a month since the initial rollout. 

The results come the same day Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologized to Congress, calling the website’s rollout “miserably frustrating.” The administration has said it would be fully operational by the end of next month. 

Independents are the most uncertain about what the botched rollout of the website means, with 38 percent saying it is too soon to tell. A majority of Democrats, 60 percent, believes it to be a short-term problem, while 54 percent of Republicans think the opposite. 

The poll surveyed 800 people and holds a 3.5 percent margin of error.

A separate poll from The Washington Post and ABC News last week found nearly the same amount of people, 40 percent, believes the problems with the website are an isolated incident. 

However, a much higher percentage from that poll, 56 percent, saw the website as part of a broader problem with the law, with 83 percent of Republicans saying it was a sign of broader problems. 

The disparity might have resulted from the polling question. The new NBC News poll offers an option for respondents to defer their answer since it is too early to tell what the botched website means. The Post poll did not and found only 4 percent of people had no opinion.   

Also on Wednesday, Gallup released numbers that showed the public’s views of the overall law are largely unchanged from a month ago. While 25 percent of people think the law will make things better, 34 percent believe it will make things worse. Thirty-six percent believe it will not make much difference.

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