As ObamaCare Hits Supreme Court, New York Times Buries Unfavorable Poll Findings on A-17

There was some strange poll placement in Tuesday's New York Times, which led with "New Poll Finds Drop In Support for Afghan War." Yet the paper buried a story from the same poll, showing people are strongly against Obama-care, on page 17. Given that the Supreme Court is now arguing the issue, wouldn't it have been more timely for the Times to lead off with or at least front its Obama-care findings? 

(To be fair, Obama-care has been deeply unpopular since it was launched two years ago, so the findings, though under-publicized, aren't as current as the sharp drop in support for the war in Afghanistan.)

"Most Oppose at Least Part of Overhaul, Poll Finds," by Dalia Sussman, Helen Cooper, and Kate Phillips, brought the bad news for Obama-care, but also found some caveats, including the fact that people apparently just don't understand the law:

Two-thirds of Americans want the Supreme Court to overturn some or all of the health care law, even though large majorities support a few of its major aspects, according to a poll by The New York Times and CBS News.

At the heart of the opposition is the individual mandate requiring Americans to obtain health insurance, the least popular part of the bill and a crucial piece at the center of the court arguments, which began Monday and will turn to the mandate on Tuesday.


But as has been the case since nearly the inception of the law, much confusion lingers over certain portions of it, underscoring Mr. Obama’s struggles to win public support for his benchmark legislation. In the Times/CBS News poll, less than half say they have a good understanding of the law, probably stemming in part from the fact that the provisions attracting the most opposition -- like the mandate -- have yet to be put into effect so therefore cannot be evaluated in tangible ways.

Yet other aspects of the law attract widespread support. Asked about a provision requiring insurance companies to cover people with a pre-existing medical condition, 85 percent said they approved of that element.

Similarly, 68 percent approved of the provision allowing children to remain on their parents’ policies until the age of 26, and 77 percent approved of a provision reducing the cost of prescription drugs for Medicare recipients.

Still, the poll results echo some of the criticisms raised by Republicans on and off the campaign trail. Robert Fawcett, 49, an independent from Yakima, Wash., said in a follow-up interview to the survey that while he favored some portions, the overall legislation was too far-reaching. “The whole way the law was brought about, the length of it, the scope of it, was a wrong step in the wrong direction,” he said. “I believe forcing people to buy insurance is unconstitutional; it’s taking away the choice people have.”

-- Clay Waters is editor of the MRC's TimesWatch page