The Kaiser Family Foundation found some discouraging news in its February polling.
The poll was done a few weeks ago, in early February, right after the House
got right to work on creating jobs voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The confusion, to an extent, could be attributed to that timing. But there could be more to it than just that.
The results come after the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to repeal the law last month, and two federal judges ruled the law was unconstitutional. After extensive media coverage of these events, only 52 percent of Americans accurately said the health care law, which passed last year, remained intact, according to the poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation. (KHN is a program of the foundation.)
The poll found that unfavorable views of the law among the elderly have risen to 59 percent, up from 40 percent in December. Republican opposition has grown over recent months, to 84 percent, while 66 percent of Democrats remain supportive and independents are divided. Republicans are more passionate in their opposition than Democrats are enthusiastic about the law.
There remains no consensus about whether to keep, expand, replace or repeal the law. Forty-eight percent are opposed to the law, while 43 percent favor it. Sixty-one percent of those polled oppose Congress cutting off funding of the law in order to block it, as many Republican lawmakers are considering.
It's also possible, Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation, says, “There may be some partisan wishful thinking going on. Thirty percent of Republicans think the law has been repealed while only 12 percent of Democrats do. But overall, it is obvious that the knowledge of basic civics is pretty low. Maybe it's because ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ is no longer airing on Saturday morning TV explaining how government works.”
What they do see on TV? As Jed Lewison and Steve Benen both point out, they see stories about judges overturning the law, and far less coverage of either the decisions upholding it, or the new provisions of it being implemented.
As for what people would like to see Congress spending its time on [pdf]: "most Americans say there has been too little focus on the economy (71 percent), the deficit (63 percent) and immigration (57 percent)."
Look at that big, blue line up at the top. Where are the jobs, Speaker Boehner?