Hill Poll: Plurality wants healthcare reform nixed by the Supreme Court

A plurality of likely voters think President Obama and congressional Democrats will be more effective in reducing unemployment than congressional Republicans.

But this week’s The Hill Poll also has bad news for the president. 

Nearly half of likely voters believe it would be a good thing if the Supreme Court struck down his signature healthcare reform law.


More than one-third (36 percent) of respondents said they favor Obama and Democrats when it comes to trying to solve the unemployment problem, while 28 percent said they think Republicans are more likely to take action. Tellingly, 31 percent expressed dissatisfaction with both parties on the issue.

The findings come as Obama tries to get traction for his American Jobs Act — and while unemployment remains at a stubbornly high rate (9.1 percent in August, the most recent month for which figures are available).

Likely voters were split on whether Congress should pass the $447 billion jobs bill Obama released last month. Forty-one percent said Congress should pass the jobs plan and 43 percent said it should not.

Obama’s jobs bill was more appealing to centrists, with half saying Congress should pass it and only 31 percent saying no.

Although slightly more independent voters said Democrats were more likely to help reduce unemployment than Republicans (28 percent to 21 percent), 42 percent had little confidence that either party could get the job done.

Young people and women had more confidence in Democrats. Twice as many voters between the ages of 18 and 39 selected Democrats over Republicans to get people back to work: Forty-two percent went for Democrats and 21 percent for Republicans.

A similar, if less emphatic, split was seen along gender lines: Forty-three percent of women said they had more confidence in Democrats on unemployment solutions, while only 28 percent of men took the same view. One third of men said Republicans were better on jobs issues and 35 percent picked neither party.

Shocking many, last week the Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of its prized piece of legislation, the 2010 Affordable Care Act. A decision from the justices now appears likely around June 2012, when the presidential campaign will be in full swing.

Nearly half of likely voters — 48 percent — said it would be a good thing if the court struck down the law. Thirty-nine percent said such a decision would be bad. Among independent voters, the numbers were nearly identical.

A surprisingly large portion of Democrats — 20 percent — said striking down the law would be good. Sixty-seven percent said it would be bad. Republicans were more unified on the issue, with 11 percent saying striking down the law would be bad, and 79 percent supporting such an outcome.

Surprisingly, more 18-to-39-year-old voters than not thought a Supreme Court reversal of the law would be positive — 43 percent to 40 percent, although that finding was within the poll’s margin of error.

The finding was particularly conspicuous given Obama’s tendency to draw heavy support from younger voters. The impact of the 2010 healthcare law should also have been more immediately felt by younger people, as its requirement that healthcare providers allow people up to age 26 to stay on a parent’s insurance is already in effect.

More men than women have a negative view of the law, with 58 percent of men saying striking down the law would be good and only 40 percent of women agreeing.

When asked if the law would make healthcare costs rise faster or slower, almost half of voters (47 percent) said costs would rise faster. This was more than double the proportion (19 percent) who believed the law would slow the growth in costs, despite the Obama administration repeatedly making this argument on behalf of the law.

Although Obama can claim his healthcare law is one more campaign promise fulfilled, the lack of enthusiasm for it from likely voters doesn’t bode well for his reelection campaign.

Pulse Opinion Research conducted The Hill Poll on Sept. 29. It is based on the responses of 1,000 likely voters and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Click here to view data from The Hill Poll.