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Partisanship Guides Americans' Attitudes on Health-Care Reform Law: Poll

As presidential election nears, Republicans tend to see the effects as negative, while reverse is true for Democrats

NORWALK, Conn., USA – October 25, 2012 – Two years after it was signed into law, Americans' views on the Affordable Care Act continue to track along party lines, even among those who say they've personally been affected by the controversial health-reform legislation, today’s new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll finds.

According to the poll of more than 2,500 adults conducted earlier this month, 31 percent said they want the entire law repealed, 27 percent want to keep it in its entirety, and 22 percent want to keep only parts of it.

But as with a similar poll conducted a year ago, attitudes hewed closely to party lines: Most Republicans (63 percent) favor repeal while many Democrats (49 percent) want to keep all of the law or just tweak parts of it (19 percent).

And yet big majorities across the political spectrum said they want to retain parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The law, one of the legislative centerpieces of President Barack Obama's presidency, has been a frequent topic of debate during the pending election, with Republican challenger Mitt Romney pledging to repeal it.

For instance, 70 percent of those surveyed said they want to keep the rule that prevents insurers from denying health coverage based on pre-existing conditions -- up from 64 percent in 2010, when the law was signed by Obama.

The "individual mandate," on the other hand, remains a bitter source of contention, with 55 percent opposing it, roughly the same as two years ago. This provision requires Americans who don't have insurance to buy it or face a penalty. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the provision in a ruling handed down in June.

Harris Poll Chairman Humphrey Taylor said the results aren't surprising. "This survey indicates that many people can have different attitudes to the forest (the 'big picture') and to the trees (the 'specifics')," he said.

The poll included 2,516 U.S adults over age 18 surveyed online between Oct. 2-4, 2012 by Harris Interactive, one of the world's leading custom market research firms. HealthDay is a leading producer and syndicator of health news.

The complete findings of the newest joint Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll are available here.  HealthDay's news report is available here. Full data on the poll and its methodology are available at Harris Interactive.


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About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in more than 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

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