Public approval of ObamaCare continued to sink this summer, issuing the latest warning for vulnerable Democrats who will face voters this fall after backing the law.Just 35 percent of voters now support the Affordable Care Act, down 3 percentage points from May, according to a monthly poll by the Kaiser Health Foundation released on Tuesday. Support for the healthcare overhaul law once stood at 50 percent, just weeks after it was signed in 2010.
The percentage of voters who are dissatisfied with the law is also slipping as a larger share of respondents said they didn’t have an opinion. A total of 47 percent of voters said they feel negatively about the law, down from an all-time negativity rating high of 53 percent in July.
Healthcare remains one of the most important issues in midterm elections, ranking only behind the economy and jobs as voters’ top issue. Still, four years after its passage, nearly 60 percent of voters said they have not felt any direct impact of the law, according to the poll.
The Affordable Care Act faced a series of setbacks this summer, including a barrage of criticism against HealthCare.gov and a hacker who successfully breached the site last week. Federal appeals courts also released a pair of contradictory rulings on the law involving insurance subsidies in states without their own marketplaces.
Political advertising on healthcare has been a key ingredient in candidates' midterm strategies. Just over half of voters reported seeing an ad related to the healthcare law in the last month, the majority of which were negative. In the 11 states with competitive Senate races, 71 percent of voters said they saw ads related to the law, according to the Kaiser poll.
Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), the vulnerable incumbent in Arkansas, is one of few Democrats to campaign on healthcare reform this year. He released an ad last month to highlight the ways that the law could have helped him fight his own battle against cancer. But he did not mention the name of the law during the 30-second ad.
Political groups had poured about $450 million into anti-ObamaCare ads as of May 2014, according a nonpartisan analysis this summer by Kantar Media CMAG.
When asked whether ObamaCare should be a campaign issue this fall, voters were nearly equally split, with 47 percent arguing that the debate should continue, while 48 percent said they are “tired of hearing” about it.
Return to News Home