Nearly one-third of respondents in the online survey released on
Tuesday said they prefer Democrats' plan, policy or approach to
healthcare, compared to just 18 percent for Republicans. This marks
both an uptick in support for Democrats and a slide for Republicans
since a similar poll in February.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius stepped
down last week after overseeing the law's rollout, including the
HealthCare.gov website's tumultuous first weeks, when many users
were unable to access the system to purchase or research their
But a surge of late sign-ups for health coverage pushed the number
to over 7.1 million people by the end of March, and Sebelius said
before resigning that more than 7.5 million were expected to sign up
"In the last couple of weeks, as the exchanges hit their goals, news
coverage has been more positive and the support of the Democratic
Party on this issue has rebounded," said Ipsos pollster Chris
"It's not that independents are moving their way, it's that
Democrats who had previously been a little bit ambivalent in their
support are coming back to the party," he said.
One-fifth of respondents said they did not know which party had a
better plan, and another fifth said neither party did.
Republicans and Democrats are facing off over President Barack
Obama's signature healthcare law ahead of November's congressional
elections, when Republicans are looking to reclaim control of the
U.S. Senate and bolster their advantage in the House of
Opposition to the Affordable Care Act is a central theme in many
individual campaigns, and national Republicans have promoted ending
the law as the most important issue at play in the elections.
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While Democrats have struggled with the law's unpopularity,
Republicans have faced criticism that they do not have any
reasonable alternative to Obama's healthcare plan.
"Democrats have not managed to have a huge lead over Republicans so
much as Republicans have managed to damage their own position and
stay behind Democrats," Jackson said. "That's because people don't
view the Republican Party as standing for any particular healthcare
In a February poll, just around one-quarter of respondents said
Democrats had a better plan. That number increased to 31 percent in
March and 32 percent in April.
Republicans' healthcare plans had the backing of 24 percent of
respondents in the March survey, 6 percentage points higher than
their April support.
Ipsos polled 799 Americans online from April 6 to 15. The poll had a
credibility interval — a measure of precision — of 4 percentage
(Editing by Alistair Bell and Eric Walsh)
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