Disapproval of Obamacare spikes in new poll

Disapproval ratings of Obamacare have spiked to a new high since the law was passed in 2010.
Photo courtesy Healthcare.gov

The public's dissatisfaction with the Affordable Care Act has spiked in the wake of the problem-ridden rollout of the federal exchanges on which Americans can purchase health insurance.

Fifty-seven percent oppose the law, and only 40 percent support it, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Since the law passed in 2010, the public has generally been split on whether they like or dislike it - until now.

Disapproval is particularly high for the individual mandate portion of the law, which says that Americans must purchase health insurance or pay a fine. Sixty-five percent of respondents oppose that provision, while only 34 percent support it. And given the problems with HealthCare.gov, 71 percent of respondents say the requirement should be delayed. Only 22 percent say it should proceed on schedule.

But while the public is down on the individual mandate, the same doesn't go for companies. Fifty-eight percent of respondents support the requirement that companies with 50 or more employees provide health insurance to their workers or face a fine.

As with other recent surveys, the Post-ABC poll found that the president's credibility - and his approval rating - have taken a nosedive among voters. Fifty-five percent of people disapprove of his job performance, and that number jumps to 63 percent when respondents were asked specifically about his handling of the health care law. Only 47 percent of people see him as honest and trustworthy, and just 41 percent say he is a good manager.

Much of the recent debate over Obamacare has been centered on the question of whether the president was lying when he promised that people would be able to keep their health insurance if they liked it once the law passed, a claim that has turned out to be largely untrue. A full 44 percent of poll respondents said he intentionally misled the public; 52 percent said Mr. Obama told people what he believed to be true.

The only response to the poll that might give the administration some hope was on the question of whether the federal government can overcome problems and get the law working, or whether it will never function properly. Despite the spike in disapproval about the law itself, the public is still evenly split on its future, 49 percent to 49 percent.

Democrats could face trouble in the next election if the public's views of the law do not improve. Just 21 percent of poll respondents said they would be more likely to vote for a congressional candidate who supports Obamacare. Thirty-seven percent said they would be less likely to vote for that candidate, and 40 percent said their support for the ACA wouldn't make much of a difference in deciding their vote.

The poll surveyed 1,006 adults on landlines and cell phones from Nov. 14 through 17. The overall margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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    Rebecca Kaplan covers the 2012 presidential campaign for CBS News and National Journal.