By LOUISE RADNOFSKY The Wall Street Journal April 24, 2012
How did last month’s oral arguments before the Supreme Court on the health-overhaul law shift public opinion? Not much, it turns out.
Some 43% of respondents in an April poll carried out by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation had an unfavorable view of the health law — up from 40% in March. Forty-two percent had a favorable view, up from 41% the previous month. That’s all within the poll’s +/- 3 percentage-point margin of error, which had 1,210 respondents.
Feelings about the least popular aspect of the overhaul — a requirement that individuals buy insurance or pay a fee, which is also the centerpiece of the constitutional challenge to the law — are also virtually unchanged. Some 30% say they support the requirement, and 70% oppose it, up from 32% and 66%, respectively, in March.
More people knew the requirement is in the law: 74%, up from 64% in March. And feelings about the Court itself have changed among Republicans. After oral arguments, 43% of respondents who identified themselves as Republicans said they had confidence in the justices, up 19 percentage points from the previous month. Only 29% of Democrats, however, said in April that they had confidence in the justices, almost unchanged from March.
What’s more, few respondents said the Court’s ruling would change their opinion of the law anyway. Some 81% said that however they feel about the law now, it would be the same if the court rules that the individual mandate is constitutional.
For both political parties, that means doubling down on their messaging heading in to the general election, whether it’s fighting to overturn the provisions of the law, in the case of Republicans, or to protect them, in the case of Democrats.