When problems with the launch of President Obama’s signature healthcare law emerged this fall, the public’s perception of it plummeted. But a new poll shows that opposition has begun to subside.
Forty-nine percent of Americans oppose the Affordable Care Act, while 46 percent support it, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Tuesday. Opposition is down from a record high of 57 percent last month, when the uproar over the program’s problems reached a fever pitch.
The numbers bring a small dose of relief to the Obama administration, which has been battered by negative backlash against the law. Problems still remain with the website, but improvements have been made that have allowed more people to sign up for insurance plans.
While the numbers look better for Obama, they still aren’t good. The Obamacare trend hasn't turned around the president's overall numbers. Fifty-five percent of Americans disapprove of the president's job performance, while 43 percent approve, barely changed since last month.
The public remains divided over the law, with slightly more people opposing it than supporting it.
Over six in ten people say that the website is not working as it should and over half believe that the website’s woes are sign of broader problems with the law.
In another bit of good news for Obama, people are less likely to say that the law has been personally harmful than they were in 2010, when it passed. At the time, 44 percent said that it would hurt the quality of their healthcare. But only 25 percent now say that’s happened.
But that doesn’t mean there is a perception that the law could improve the lives of Americans. In 2010, 37 percent said that the law would improve the overall healthcare system. Only 19 percent say the same now. Forty-seven percent say it’s made things worse, up slightly from 44 percent three years ago.
Many elements of the law, like allowing people under 26 to remain on their parents health insurance, are already in place. But the program’s most central provisions, such as insurance plans purchased off the exchange, won’t begin until next year.
Overall, perceptions of the law remain volatile with several groups, including young people. Opposition to the law jumped by 16 percentage points last month among people under 30. But that opposition declined by 18 percentage points this month.
Jordan Fabian is Fusion's politics editor, writing about campaigns, Congress, immigration, and more. When he's not working, you can find him at the ice rink or at home with his wife, Melissa.