Support wanes for repeal of Obamacare, 2 surveys suggest

Law issue in some key areas; most back 'work to improve'

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WASHINGTON — By a substantial margin, Americans disagree with the Republican argument that President Barack Obama’s health care law should be repealed and replaced, but several weeks of relatively good news about the law have done little to change entrenched, partisan views of it.

Those are the conclusions of two newly released public opinion surveys, one by a nonpartisan organization, the other by a leading Democratic polling firm. They suggest that the potency of GOP arguments against the law have waned, but that it continues to be a risk for Democrats in key congressional races, particularly in the South.

Nearly 3 in 5 Americans said they would prefer to see their representatives in Congress “work to improve” the health care law rather than “work to repeal the law and replace it with something else,” according to the latest Kaiser Family Foundation health care poll.

Kaiser, which has surveyed public opinion about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, each month, found impressions of it warming slightly from the low points of November through January. Overall, however, opinions of the law remain negative, with 46 percent now having a generally unfavorable view of it and 38 percent generally positive, the poll found. Those views are sharply divided by party, as has been the case since the law passed.

A survey by Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg found a similar division on the question of fixing the law versus repealing it. Among likely voters in competitive congressional districts, 52 percent say the country should “implement and fix the health care reform law” while 42 percent say they want to “repeal and replace” it, he found.

Compared with December, support for the “implement and fix” position has grown and sentiment for repeal has shrunk in the roughly 80 congressional districts that Greenberg surveys to analyze the battleground for this fall’s midterm election.

Independent voters in those districts, who favored repeal in December, now favor going ahead with the law, his polling indicated. Key Democratic constituency groups, such as college-educated women, have become more ardent in their support.

But one group stands out as bucking the trend: Voters in battleground districts in the South now support repeal by a bigger margin than they did in December, Greenberg found.