Just 36 percent of voters support repealing Obamacare without a replacement, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll conducted on the eve of planned votes in the Senate to move forward on overhauling the health care system.
Half of voters, 50 percent, oppose repealing the 2010 health care law without replacing it, the poll shows.
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The survey suggests congressional Republicans are squeezed between a base that wants Obamacare repealed, and a broader electorate that is — at best — skeptical of the GOP’s plans for health care.
Republican voters are more open to repealing Obamacare without a replacement, a vote conservatives like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have sought — a majority of GOP voters, 58 percent, support repealing Obamacare without a replacement. But just 21 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of independents support straight repeal.
Senate GOP leaders earlier this month pulled their repeal-and-replace bill after it became clear they lacked the votes to pass it. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is planning for a vote Tuesday to open debate on health care — a maneuver that could result in a series of votes on repealing Obamacare both with and without a replacement. McConnell’s effort, while still in doubt, gained steam Monday night when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced he would return to Washington following a recent diagnosis of brain cancer.
Given three options, just 31 percent of poll respondents want Republicans to continue their efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, 18 percent want them to move on to other things and a 41-percent plurality want them to work to improve the existing health care system under Obamacare.
But among Republican voters, 57 percent want Congress to continue trying to repeal and replace the health care law, while 13 percent want Congress to move on and 22 percent want them to work to improve Obamacare. Only 9 percent of Democrats and 28 percent of independents want Republicans in Congress to keep trying to repeal Obamacare.
“Only 13 percent of Republican voters support Congress abandoning health care and moving on to other issues,” said Morning Consult Co-founder and Chief Research Officer Kyle Dropp. “Additionally, a majority of Republicans support a straight Obamacare repeal bill. If GOP leaders walk away with nothing, a significant portion of the base will be disappointed.”
If Tuesday’s vote to open debate fails — or if Senate leaders are unable to garner a majority on any health proposal — Trump has suggested letting parts of the existing health care law “fail.”
“As I’ve always said, let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan,” Trump tweeted last week when Senate Republicans admitted they were short of the votes needed to pass a replacement bill.
But voters don’t want Trump and the GOP to let the existing insurance market falter if Obamacare remains law. Fifty-nine percent of voters want Congress to make any changes necessary to the Affordable Care Act to ensure it does not fail, while only 25 percent want Republicans to let the markets fail. Even Republicans are divided: 43 percent want Congress to fix Obamacare, while 42 percent want it to let it fail.
Moreover, voters also oppose discontinuing federal funding for the law — even if it ensures Obamacare’s future existence. Fifty-four percent of voters want Trump and the GOP to continue to fund Obamacare, even if that means it remains the law. Only 27 percent want Republicans to defund the law, even if it negatively impacts health insurance markets in the short term.
The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll was conducted July 20-24. The poll surveyed 3,981 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Morning Consult is a nonpartisan media and technology company that provides data-driven research and insights on politics, policy and business strategy.