Americans remain overwhelmingly against requiring individuals to purchase health insurance, but they divide in half about the health care law that President Obama signed in 2010, according to the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll.
The poll found sweeping opposition to the so-called individual mandate, whose constitutionality the Supreme Court is considering. But it also found the nation split along overlapping lines of partisanship and race when respondents were asked about the impact of Obama's health reform law and its effort to expand coverage to the uninsured. At the same time, the Republican proposal to restructure Medicare into a premium-support or voucher system faces resistance as widespread as the individual mandate.
The mandate on individuals to purchase insurance or pay a penalty, as in earlier national polls, remains an idea without any significant constituency. Overall, when asked if "the federal government should or should not be able to require all Americans to obtain health insurance or else pay a fine," just 28 percent of those surveyed said they supported the mandate, while 66 percent opposed it.
The mandate faced opposition even from a narrow majority of nonwhite adults; almost three-fifths of young people; and two-thirds of college-educated white women — all pillars of the modern Democratic coalition. Even Democrats, by a 48 percent to 44 percent plurality, said they opposed a mandate. Two-thirds of independents rejected the idea, and opposition soared to nearly three-fourths among whites without a college education. Republicans opposed the idea by more than 15-to-1.