In North Carolina and beyond, fix Obamacare

A majority of registered voters in North Carolina – and an even larger percentage of registered voters across the United States – believe Congress should modify the Affordable Care Act, rather than do away with it altogether, should the U.S. Supreme Court strike down a provision of the controversial health care law.

Sixty percent of North Carolina registered voters, and 62 percent of registered voters around the country, would prefer modifications to a law more widely known as “Obamacare.”

Those attitudes and more are the latest findings by the Elon University Poll, which conducted two simultaneous online surveys this month: a national poll and a North Carolina statewide poll.

The Elon University Poll surveyed 709 registered voters in North Carolina and 901 registered voters in the United States. The June 4-9 surveys from online opt-in panels were weighted to match U.S. Census information, and because respondents were not randomly selected, margins of error can be misleading and were not calculated.

“Prior surveys have shown North Carolinians are skeptical of the benefits of ‘Obamacare,’” said Assistant Professor Kenneth Fernandez, director of the Elon University Poll. “However, voters may have developed an attachment to the concepts behind the Affordable Care Act since its enactment five years ago and would prefer it be modified rather than abolished.”

The latest polls surveyed respondents on attitudes toward three decisions expected to come down this month from the U.S. Supreme Court: the Affordable Care Act, same-sex marriage recognition and a ruling on whether messages and causes found on license plates are protected under the Constitution.

Same-Sex Marriage

Attitudes in North Carolina diverge from those found nationally on a court case involving same-sex marriage right. Registered voters in the United States are almost evenly divided on the question of allowing states to decide whether to recognize same-sex marriages. Forty-seven percent of respondents in the national survey said states should decide about same-sex marriage; 48 percent said same-sex marriage should be legal in every state.

In North Carolina, 54 percent of respondents believe the state should decide, compared to 44 percent who said same-sex marriage should be legal everywhere.

License Plates

In a case that pits Texas against the Sons of Confederate Veterans, justices will decide whether states have the right to limit what types of images and language are included on specialty license plates. Sons of Confederate Veterans sued to have a Confederate flag featured as part of a proposed specialty plate. The Texas DMV had rejected the group’s requested plate because some people would take offense.

The Elon University Poll’s online survey displayed an image of two license plates: the proposed Sons of Confederate Veterans plate, and a “Choose Life” tag already approved for Texas car owners who promote pro-life views.

In North Carolina, 55 percent of respondents felt that both plates should be permitted, while nationally, only 47 percent of respondents felt the same. Nineteen percent of North Carolinians wanted both plates banned, compared to 22 percent of respondents nationally.

A small difference was also found between North Carolina (15 percent) and the nation (19 percent) about allowing the “Choose Life” plate but banning the Confederate flag image.

Trust in the Court

Respondents also were asked about their confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court and their opinions on the court’s ideology.

How much confidence do you have at this time in the U.S. Supreme Court?

North Carolina

  • A great deal: 10 percent
  • A fair amount: 46 percent
  • Not very much: 34 percent
  • None at all: 5 percent
  • Don’t know/refused: 5 percent

United States

  • A great deal: 11 percent
  • A fair amount: 49 percent
  • Not very much: 29 percent
  • None at all: 5 percent
  • Don’t know/refused: 6 percent

In your view, do you think the current U.S. Supreme Court is…

North Carolina

  • Conservative: 27 percent
  • Middle of the road: 39 percent
  • Liberal: 22 percent
  • Don’t know/refused: 12 percent

United States

  • Conservative: 29 percent
  • Middle of the road: 43 percent
  • Liberal: 16 percent
  • Don’t know/refused: 13 percent

“Political science research has traditionally depicted residents in Southern states to be less trusting in the federal government than residents in other states,” Fernandez said. “This survey fits that pattern.”