Poll: Small businesses say ObamaCare will be bad news

"Some small businesses are being told their costs are going to go up, even though they're exempted from the law" or stand to benefit from it, he said.

But the Gallup poll shows that Obama has his work cut out for him if he wants employers to come around to the healthcare law.

Fifty-five percent of employers said they expect their healthcare costs to rise, and 52 percent said they expect the law to reduce the quality of the healthcare benefits they provide.

The poll also found that employers are being cautious with new hiring as they wait to see how the law affects them. Forty-one percent of those surveyed said they have held off on plans to hire new employees, and 38 percent said they've pulled back on plans to expand their businesses.

Eighteen percent said they've rolled back employees' hours so that they won't have to provide healthcare coverage.