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Obamacare polls show higher approval after March 31 deadline

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The rollout of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, was undoubtedly a rough one. The polls reflected Obamacare’s early struggles as Americans increasingly disapproved of the law because of the early failures of the healthcare.gov website. However, as seen below, Obamacare seems to have made a comeback over time. In fact, the polls now show that Americans approve of Obamacare at higher levels than they did when the open enrollment period began in October. A majority still disapprove of Obamacare, but the numbers look much better now than they did just three months ago. The polling data below includes polls released over the last 48 hours.

The two most recent Obamacare polls were released on Thursday, April 3. Those two polls are listed below:

NPR/GQR/Resurgent Poll (-4 approval)

  • 47 percent favor
  • 51 percent oppose
  • Conducted March 19-23, 2014
  • Sample of 950 2012 voters (weighted) and 840 likely 2014 voters nationwide
  • Margin of error of +/- 3.18 percentage points

Reason-Rupe/PSRAI (-17 approval)

  • 36 percent favor
  • 53 percent oppose
  • Conducted March 26-30, 2014
  • Sample of 1003 adults
  • Margin of error of +/- 5.2 percentage points

As seen above, the polls on Obamacare tend to show different results depending on the pollster, sample, and other factors. The most favorable poll, from ABC News Washington Post, shows -2 approval rating with 48 percent in favor and 50 percent opposed. The least favorable, from Reason-Rupe, is listed above.

The best way to measure public approval is probably an average of all polls. Real Clear Politics has kept a historical average of all the pollsters over the last six months. Their results are listed below.

Real Clear Politics Average

March 31: -11.6 (40.4 percent favor, 52 percent oppose)

February 28: -12.6 (39.0 percent favor, 51.6 percent oppose)

January 31: -13.9 (38.0 percent favor, 51.9 percent oppose)

January 31: -15.2 (37.8 percent favor, 53.0 percent oppose)

November 30: -18.5 (38.6 percent favor, 57.1 percent oppose)

October 31: -7.7 (42.4 percent favor, 50.1 percent oppose)

September 28: -13.3 (38.7 percent favor, 52.0 percent oppose)

As seen above, when the open enrollment period began on October 1 the law had an approval rating of -13. On March 31, at the end of open enrollment, the law now has an approval rating of -11.6. The low point for the law came on November 30 when Obamacare had a -18.5 approval rating with nearly 60 percent disapproving. Since then, the percent in favor has grown slightly (1.8 percent), and the percent opposed has gone down by 5.1 percent. This data suggests that more Americans are more neutral towards Obamacare as opposed to in favor of the law.

What is clear is that Obamacare approval is now on an upward trend, and none of the numbers above fully reflect the news that the Obama administration reached its goal of 7 million people enrolled. The positive press from that news may increase the approval rating even more. Check back for another update in the next two weeks once more post-deadline polls are released.

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