Poll: Independent voters want GOP to stop fighting health law

Most independent voters say it’s time to move on to other issues now that the Supreme Court has ruled on President Obama’s healthcare law, according to a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Republicans said last week that the court’s 5-4 decision, which upheld the healthcare law, will help rally the party's base in November. Democrats argued that the years-long healthcare debate has now been settled.

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A slight majority of independent voters sided with Democrats on that question in the latest Kaiser poll. Fifty-one percent of all independents, as well as independents who do not lean toward either party, said opponents should “stop their efforts to block the law and move on to other national problems.”

Respondents who identified with a specific party echoed their respective party lines when asked whether opponents should keep fighting or move on.

Overall, public opinion on the Affordable Care Act remains evenly divided —  41 percent of those surveyed have had a favorable view in a tracking poll, and 41 percent a negative view. There have not been major fluctuations in approval ratings since the law was passed in March 2010.

Asked about the future of the healthcare law, 53 percent said Congress should keep or expand it, while 38 percent said lawmakers should repeal and replace the law.

Repeal and replace has never received majority support in the Kaiser tracking polls, indicating that part of the law’s low approval rating stems from liberals who wanted it to go further.

Although Republicans still feel more strongly than Democrats, the margin narrowed in the latest survey. The court’s ruling helped boost Democratic enthusiasm for the law — 47 percent of Democrats said they have a “very favorable” view of the healthcare law, up from 31 percent last month.

But 69 percent of Republicans said they have a “very unfavorable” view, up only slightly since last month. Republicans were also more likely to say the Supreme Court’s decision will make them more likely to vote in November.

The latest tracking poll was conducted immediately on the heels of the court’s decision, beginning last Thursday, when the ruling was announced. More than 40 percent of those polled did not know the court had upheld Obama’s signature domestic achievement.

Eighteen percent of those polled said the court did not announce a decision on the healthcare law, while 17 percent said they weren’t sure whether the court had ruled. Six percent knew there had been a ruling, but didn’t know what it was.

Combined, that’s 41 percent who did not know the court upheld the Affordable Care Act.