(Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama’s health care law is becoming more entrenched, with 64 percent of Americans now supporting it outright or backing small changes.
Even so, 54 percent of Americans say they’re unhappy with the president’s handling of the issue, according to a Bloomberg National Poll.
Analysts based their findings on a survey of 1,001 U.S. adults conducted from March 7 through March 10.
Bloomberg sponsored a similar poll in December
In December, after the botched rollout of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) public exchange system, 60 percent of the participants said they disapproved of the way Obama was handling of health care.
The open enrollment period for individual commercial “qualified health plan” coverage started Oct. 1 and is set to end March 31. The Congressional Budget Office recently cut its projection for 2014 public exchange QHP enrollment to 6 million, from 7 million.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said earlier this week that exchanges have received plan selection information from 4.2 million people. HHS officials and officials at the Internal Revenue Service, which administers a QHP tax credit subsidy program, have given no information about paid QHP enrollment.
The PPACA portfolio
Fifty-one percent of Americans said they favor retaining PPACA with “small modifications,” while 13 percent would leave the law intact and 34 percent would repeal it. That’s the highest level of public acceptance for the law yet in the Bloomberg poll.
Investors are betting the law will withstand political challenges. An “Obamacare” portfolio of stocks that benefit from the law developed by the online broker Motif Investing is up 40.9 percent over a year ago as of March 12, almost doubling the performance of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, which returned 22.9 percent.
A “Repeal Obamacare” portfolio underperformed the benchmark stock index, rising 16.1 percent during the period.
The law’s opponents have the advantage of intensity, which was on display in the March 11 Florida election for a vacant congressional seat. After a campaign focused on differences over PPACA, Republican David Jolly turned out more of his supporters than did Democratic candidate Alex Sink. The election drew little more than half as many voters in the district as in the 2012 presidential race, when Obama narrowly carried it and a since-deceased Republican congressman was re-elected.
Who will vote?
“In off-year elections, turnout is a huge factor,” said J. Ann Selzer, who conducted the survey for Bloomberg. “The anti-Obamacare segment is both more likely to say they will definitely vote and more likely to say their vote will be strongly influenced by their view of Obamacare; that can be enough to sway a race.”
Seventy-three percent of Bloomberg poll respondents who would repeal PPACA say the law will be a “major” decider of their vote, compared with 45 percent of those who support modifications and 33 percent of those who back the law as is.
Repeal advocates are also the most likely to vote, with 73 percent saying they will “definitely” do so. By contrast, 61 percent of those who want only small modifications are likely voters as are 54 percent of those who want the law kept intact.