September 2013 Tracking Poll Memo

TO: Interested Parties
FR: Michael Ramlet and Kyle Dropp
DT: September 28, 2013
RE: Poll Results on a Government Shutdown, the Launch of the Health Exchanges, and Employers Dropping Health Insurance Coverage

With a government shutdown looming, only 33 percent of voters say Congress should delay, defund, or repeal the healthcare law and 51 percent of voters say they will blame Republicans in Congress “a lot” if the government shuts down, compared with 41 percent for President Obama and 36 percent for Democrats in Congress according to new results from The Morning Consult National Healthcare Tracking Poll for September 2013. Today, we analyze opinion concerning the health insurance exchanges and the continuing resolution to fund the government.

This Morning Consult National Healthcare Tracking Poll was conducted from September 25-28, 2013, among a national sample of 1,976 registered voters. Results from the full sample have a margin of error of +/- 2 percent. The interviews were conducted online by Survey Sampling International, Inc. and the data was weighted to match a target sample of registered voters based on age, race, gender, education and region.

Voters Unmoved by 3-Months of the Defund Argument and Over 50 Percent Likely to Blame Congressional Republicans A Lot for a Government Shutdown

In discussing next steps for the Affordable Care Act, 13 percent of voters say Congress should expand the law, 26 percent say Congress should let the law take effect, 29 percent say Congress should make changes to improve the law, 7 percent say Congress should delay and defund the law and 26 percent say Congress should repeal the law. These figures are largely unchanged from the July and August monthly tracking polls.

The Morning Consult September Tracking Poll 1
Fifty-one percent of voters say they will blame Republicans in Congress “a lot” if the government shuts down, compared with 41 percent for President Obama and 36 percent for Democrats in Congress. Nearly eight in 10 independents will blame Republicans in Congress “a lot” or “some” if the government shuts down, and two-thirds of Democrats say GOP Members of Congress deserve “a lot” of blame.

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By a 2-to-1 margin, voters say the results from the 2012 presidential election represented a referendum on moving forward with the Affordable Care Act. Eight in 10 Democrats agree that it was a referendum, whereas 53 percent of Republicans disagree. Six in 10 Independents support the statement.

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By a 42-30 margin, voters say they are less likely to vote for a legislator who supports efforts to defund the 2010 healthcare law. Fifty two percent of Republicans say they are more likely to vote for a Member of Congress who supports efforts to defund the 2010 healthcare law, whereas nearly six in 10 Democrats say such efforts make them less likely to support a legislator.

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Forty-One Percent of Adults Interested in the Health Exchanges Plan to Try Enrolling in October with Significant Interest from Younger Adults

Days before the open enrollment for the exchanges, four in 10 adults under 30 say they are “very likely” or “absolutely certain” to purchase medical coverage through the health insurance exchanges. Four in 10 uninsured adults, and nearly half of adults who purchase insurance on their own, say they are likely to purchase coverage via the exchanges. These figures are unchanged from the July and August tracking polls.

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Among all adults who say there is at least a “50-50” chance they will participate in the health insurance exchanges, 13 percent say they will enroll on October 1 and 28 percent will enroll later in October. Half of uninsured adults or adults who purchase their own care plan on enrolling during the month of October.

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Overall, only 4 percent of adults say they are planning on paying the penalty associated with not having minimal coverage by March 31, 2014. Fully 22 percent of uninsured Americans, however, say they are planning on paying the penalty.

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One in Three Employed Adults Are Extremely Concerned or Very Concerned Their Employer Will Shift There Health Coverage to the Health Exchanges

Overall, about one-in-three adults working for a private employer or government are “extremely concerned” or “very concerned” that their employer will shift their health coverage to health insurance exchanges. Forty-four percent of Republicans are “extremely concerned” or “very concerned”, whereas 53 percent of Democrats are “not too concerned” or “not at all concerned.”

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Among employed adults, 55 percent say they would consider looking for another job if their employer shifted their health coverage to the health insurance exchanges. That level of seriousness varied from 14 percent who say they would be extremely serious, 18 percent who say they would be very serious, and to 23 percent who say they would be somewhat serious in looking for another job.

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