Poll finds partisan Supreme Court decision on healthcare expected

Half of Americans believe the "partisan political views" of Supreme Court justices will determine how they rule on President Obama's healthcare reform law, versus only 40 percent who think they'll rule "on the basis of the law," according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The poll also found record low levels of support for the two-year-old law among the public: Thirty-nine percent said they supported it, versus 53 opposed. Sixty-seven percent want the court to strike down the law in whole (38 percent) or in part (29 percent), versus only 25 percent who want the court to uphold it.

Those preferences closely tracked respondents' political leanings. Republicans were more likely to believe the court would rule based on the law than on partisan politics (58 percent versus 33) while Democrats had an opposite view.

The poll comes two weeks after the court held six hours of arguments about the law over three days. The law's mandate that everyone carry insurance came under withering criticism during the arguments, but many legal observers do not expect the court to strike down the whole law.

The results are on par with the results of a poll from The Hill taken just before arguments started in late March. 

That poll found that 42 percent of respondents said the court should uphold the law, with 50 percent saying it should be struck down. It also identified widespread skepticism about the court, with 56 percent of likely voters believing the justices are swayed by their own political beliefs while just 27 percent believe they "make impartial decisions based on their reading of the Constitution."

The new poll of 1,103 adults was conducted April 5-8. It has a 3.5 percentage point margin of error.