With enrollment in Obamacare health exchanges set to open in less than a week, American opinion on the law remains hardened, with a narrow plurality preferring to keep the health care law rather than repeal it.
In the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, 49 percent of Americans said Congress should keep the program because of the expanded insurance coverage it provides, while 44 percent said it should be repealed because it is too costly.
The findings come as Congress debates an effort by conservative lawmakers and tea-party groups to defund the law or shut down the government on Oct. 1.
The partisan divide over the health care law is stark. More than three in four Republicans, 77 percent, said the program should be repealed. Meanwhile, 72 percent of Democrats said it should remain in place. Independents are closely divided: 46 percent favor repeal and 45 percent oppose.
Broadly, the survey results mirror past United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Polls in July and March, each of which found keeping the law favored by a narrow plurality. Divisions over the law are not just by party but by gender, race, income, and level of education.
A majority of men, 51 percent, are in favor of repeal. But 55 percent of women say the law should remain in place. A narrow majority of whites, 51 percent, favor repeal while 62 percent of nonwhites would rather the law stay in place.
White men, particularly those without a college degree, are the staunchest opponents of Obamacare. More than three in five of them, 61 percent, say it should be repealed. Contrast that with college-educated white women, 56 percent of whom believe the program should stay.
Those with college degrees are the staunchest supporters of the law, with 56 percent in favor of it. Among those with a high school education or less, only 46 percent back it--a 10-point gap.
Those making less than $50,000 per year want to keep the law by 13 points, 53 percent to 40 percent. But a plurality of those making more than $50,000 would rather see it repealed, 49 percent to 45 percent. Notably, the law was written chiefly to help poorer Americans.
The poll, conducted Sept. 19-22, interviewed 1,003 adults over landline and cell phones. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
(By Shane Goldmacher)