Two years later, N.C. sour on health care law

Two years after the passage of a law that fundamentally restructures the nation’s health care system, more North Carolinians remain sour about the law and believe it will make the health care situation in the United States worse in the long run, according to the latest Elon University Poll.

The poll, conducted April 22-25, 2012, surveyed 640 North Carolina residents and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.87 percentage points. The sample is of the population in general, with numbers that include both landlines and cellular phones. The Elon University Poll does not restrict respondents by voter eligibility or likelihood of voting.

Forty-six percent of respondents believe it was a bad thing for Congress to pass the law, which has since been dubbed “Obamacare.” Thirty-eight percent said it was a good thing, and 9 percent don’t know how they feel.

Nearly the same percentage – 45 percent – believes that when all the provisions go into effect, the law will make the health care situation worse. Thirty-four percent said the law would make the situation better.

“The interesting thing about these results is that North Carolinians are evenly split on whether they think it is the responsibility of the federal government to ensure that everyone has health care coverage,” said John Robinson, director of communications for the Elon University Poll. “That suggests that it is the Affordable Care Act itself that many of them object to, not the idea of coverage.”

Guns in North Carolina

North Carolinians offered mixed messages about guns and gun control legislation. Forty-four percent of respondents believe gun control laws in the state should remain as they are now while 33 percent said they should be made stricter. Just 15 percent said gun control laws should be less strict.

However, on particular gun laws or potential laws, respondents indicated support for the expansion of gun rights or the use of deadly force if they feel threatened even if it is possible to retreat, known as a “stand your ground” law.

“Stand your ground” laws

  • Support: 54 percent
  • Oppose: 38 percent

Allowing gun owners to keep weapons locked in their cars while they are at work

  • Agree: 67 percent
  • Disagree: 28 percent

Residents disagreed with the expansion of rights for concealed-carry permit holders.

Allowing people with concealed handgun permits to take their weapons into restaurants and parks

  • Agree: 40 percent
  • Disagree: 56 percent

“Our results indicate that North Carolinians don’t want current gun control laws loosened, as may be considered in the General Assembly later this month,” Robinson said. “But they also aren’t anti-gun, given the results of the ‘stand your ground’ question.”

Cell phones

Poll respondents expressed their opinions on laws that make it illegal for all drivers to use a cell phone while driving, even when using a hands-free device.

  • Support such laws: 43 percent
  • Oppose such laws: 54 percent