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Why Do People Oppose Obamacare? The Answer May Surprise You

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A lot of Americans say they oppose President Obama's health care reform law. But you may be surprised to learn that of all those who say they oppose the 2010 law because its approach to health care is "too liberal" (35 percent), nearly half again as many oppose it because they think it's "not liberal enough" (16 percent).

This from a recent CNN/ORC survey that shows 43 percent of all Americans in favor of Obamacare - a figure that, for all the politicking on both sides, hasn't really changed in a year. Opposition from the "too liberal" camp has softened a bit (down from 37 percent in March 2012), while opposition from the "not liberal enough" camp is significantly stronger (up from 10 percent in March 2012).

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More than half (52 percent) of those in the youngest age bracket (18 to 34) favor the law, which may have something to do with the fact that many of them were among the its first beneficiaries: one provision requires insurance companies to offer coverage to young adults up to age 26 on their parents' policies.

On the other hand, less than a third (31 percent) of Americans 65 and older favor the law. A lot of their opposition may be rooted in the misconception that Obamacare "cut" Medicare. And, of course, there's the fact that people in the 65+ age group have access to Medicare and don't face many of the problems the law was designed to solve - like being turned away by insurers because of pre-existing health conditions or paying sky-high premiums because of age.

What about the rest of us? The CNN/ORC poll shows that, overall, adults between the ages of 35 and 49 and those between the ages of 50 and 64 have pretty much the same view of Obamacare, with 43 percent of the younger group and 40 percent of the older group saying that they favor the law. (The difference is well within the poll's margin of error.)

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Kevin Drum of Mother Jones magazine calls the CNN breakdown - which has 54 percent of respondents categorized as opposing the law - "wildly misleading":

If you oppose Obamacare solely because you think it should be more generous, then you're not part of the group that's commonly thought of as the opposition: tea partiers, conservatives, Republicans, and so forth. These are the folks who want to repeal Obamacare completely and leave it a smoking husk, and they're the ones most of us think of as the "opposition."


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