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Obama health reform law goes on trial amid deeply split public opinion

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Americans have consistently shown a constitutional concern with the health-care law. Earlier in Senator McConnell’s weekly remarks, for example, he cited a February poll conducted by Gallup/USA Today in which 72 percent of respondents said they believed that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. A poll released Monday by The Hill newspaper found half of voters believe Mr. Obama’s health-care law should be overturned, versus 42 percent who say it should be upheld. A March 14 poll by Pew Research shows similar results – 41 percent “approve” of the individual mandate, while 56 percent “disapprove.”

Those same polls, however, show that overall public opinion about the law is more evenly divided.

In the Gallup/USA Today survey, a slight 47 percent to 44 percent edge goes to those who would favor repealing the entire health-care law under a Republican president come 2013. The Pew poll, moreover, shows a majority of voters say the law should be either expanded (33 percent) or left as is (20 percent), compared with 38 percent who say it should be repealed.

Similarly, The Hill’s poll shows a majority of voters (52 percent) say health-care quality will be about the same or better if the health-care law survives. Forty-two percent predict it will be worse.

Democratic voters are much more likely to support the health-care law than are Republicans. Independent voters, who are key to deciding the 2012 election, tend to be more sanguine than Republicans about the health-care reform law.

Independents are more likely to oppose repeal (47 percent) than favor it (43 percent), according to the Gallup survey. In the Pew report, a plurality of independents favor repeal (40 percent), but a combined 51 percent said Congress should expand the law (33 percent) or leave it as is (18 percent).

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