Poll Shows Independents' Thoughts On Health Law

By: CBS News (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
By: CBS News (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
The Supreme Court heard arguments in March over the health care reform law

(CBS)

(CBS News) Half of independents -- the voters likely to decide the 2012 election -- would be happy if the Supreme Court this month decides to throw out President Obama's health care law in its entirety, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center. Slightly fewer independents, 44 percent, said they would be unhappy with that outcome.

The rest of the country, according to the poll, will be unhappy no matter what the outcome of the case. The Supreme Court heard arguments in March over the law's constitutionality and is expected to hand down a ruling by the end of this month. It could choose to uphold the law, reject the entire package or reject parts of it, including the requirement for all Americans to purchase insurance.

When presented with each of those three scenarios, Americans overall were more likely to say they'd be unhappy with the outcome than happy with it. For instance, 48 percent of Americans overall said they would be unhappy if the court threw out the entire law, while just 44 percent would be happy about it.

Not surprisingly, the responses were partisan. Three quarters of Republicans said they would be happy if the court threw out the entire law, and 80 percent said they'd be unhappy to see the court uphold the law. Among Democrats, 62 percent said they'd be happy if the court upheld the law, while 74 percent said they would be unhappy to have the whole law rejected.

While independents would be happier in general to have the whole law thrown out, just 44 percent said they would be happy if just the mandate were thrown out (compared to 49 percent who would be unhappy). Just 35 percent of independents said they'd be happy if the law were upheld.

The decision to throw out just the individual mandate is unpopular with both Democrats and Republicans, as well as independents. Last week, Republican Gov. Dave Heineman of Nebraska said that the court should either uphold the law or reject it in its entirety -- to do otherwise would create too much uncertainty, he said.


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