A recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute found that just days before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010) (ACA), the majority of Americans supported "Obamacare," although Christians remained divided on President Barack Obama's health care law.
The bill has attracted much criticism from conservative Christian groups claiming that the Act is bad for American families, but the PRRI poll found that 43 percent of Americans as a whole wanted the law to be upheld, as opposed to 35 percent who wanted it struck down – while 21 percent of respondents could not give an opinion.
Although it seems that a great number of Americans wanted Obamacare to be upheld, the survey's results also indicate that some Americans may not be very familiar with the intricacies of the law.
"More Americans than not oppose action by the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act," said Dr. Robert P. Jones, PRRI CEO, in a news release. "But it's important to remember that a significant number simply don't offer an opinion, indicating that many Americans simply may not know what it would mean for the law to be upheld or overturned."
Christians were mostly divided on the issue, with respondents from different denominations sharing opposite views. While 52 percent of white evangelical Protestants wanted the Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare, 46 percent of Catholics wanted it to be upheld – with 36 percent expressing their disagreement with the health care bill. Another 60 percent of Christians from other denominations supported the president's bill as well.
The poll also found that 48 percent of women wanted the Supreme Court to uphold Obamacare as opposed to 39 percent of men. Differences in opinion were also present among racial lines, with 63 percent of black Americans backing Obamacare, with 20 percent opposed; and 40 percent of white Americans support the Supreme Court's decision, opposed to 41 percent who do not.
Among the least surprising statics were perhaps how the votes went in regard to party lines. Most Republicans, or 61 percent, wanted Obamacare to be struck down by the U.S Supreme Court, while 62 percent of Democrats wanted it to be upheld. The majority of Independents also stood behind the Affordable Care Act, however, with 47 percent in support of the act, and 33 percent against it. The Tea Party was the group most strongly opposed to the health care law, with 71 percent of respondents wishing it was struck down.
"Although the public is divided over which result they would prefer in the upcoming Supreme Court ruling, most Americans say health care policy requires a national response," offered Daniel Cox, PRRI Research Director ahead of the Court's ruling. "A majority believe that health care policy should be decided at the federal level, while fewer than 4-in-10 say it should be left up to the states."
The Public Religion Research Institute poll was conducted by phone between June 20-24, 2012, and asked a random sample of 1,022 U.S. adults about their opinions.