Fox News Poll: Voters Divided on Republican Effort to Repeal Health Care Law

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Even as more American voters would like to go back to the “old” health care system, a majority believes that opponents of President Obama’s historic 2010 health care law will fail to repeal it.

Voters are evenly split in how they view Congressional Republicans’ attempts to repeal the health care law.  Nearly half of voters -- 49 percent -- see it as “an important effort.”  A similar number -- 48 percent -- think it is better described as “a waste of time,” according to a Fox News poll released Thursday.

A repeal bill has already passed the Republican-controlled House, yet Republicans generally acknowledge they don’t have the votes to pass it in the Senate as well.

There are predictable partisan differences here:  69 percent of Republicans see the actions as important, and almost as many Democrats -- 64 percent -- think it is a waste of time.

Click here to see raw polling data.

More than one in four Republican voters describes their party’s repeal effort a waste of time (29 percent).  That’s about the same as the number of Democrats who think it is important (31 percent).

Independent voters are split on how to characterize Congressional Republicans’ repeal effort, with 48 percent calling it a waste of time and 45 percent an important effort.

By a 48-42 percent margin, more voters would rather go back to the health care system that was in place in 2009.  Voters age 65 and over are among those most likely to want to turn back the clock: 57 percent think that would be better than the new law.

Views among parents are mixed:  44 percent think it would be better to leave the new law in place, and 46 percent want to return to the 2009 system.

What will happen in the end?  Voters believe the law is here to stay.  Just over a third of voters (35 percent) believes the health care law will eventually be repealed.  Still, a 56 percent majority thinks attempts to revoke the law will be unsuccessful in the long run.

Broken down by party, Republicans alone believe the health care law will be repealed (50-40 percent).  Most Democrats (72 percent) and just over half of independents (53 percent) do not think the repeal effort will be successful.

Those who consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement are the most optimistic among all groups about the prospects for repeal:  62 percent think the health care law will eventually be repealed.

Compared to the deficit and unemployment, voters put health care near the bottom of lawmakers’ to do list.

Reducing unemployment is seen as the top priority for Congress by 48 percent, followed by reducing the budget deficit at 28 percent.  Making changes to the new health care law trails at 15 percent, though it still tops promoting green technology at 3 percent.

“These findings highlight the difficult position the health care law presents for Congressional Republicans,” says Anderson Robbins Research President Chris Anderson.  “Voters of all stripes overwhelmingly think economic issues are more important than reforming the health care law, but large majorities of Republican voters continue to support the repeal effort and believe it can succeed.  Far fewer independents think the repeal effort is important or likely to succeed.  Pushing the repeal too much risks frustrating independents; not pushing hard enough will frustrate the base.”

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 911 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from Feb. 7 to Feb. 9.  For the total sample, it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.