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46% View Obamacare Favorably, 48% Unfavorably

Voters are almost evenly divided in their views of the national health care law for the first time since the beginning of the year, although just over half still expect it to increase health care costs.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 46% of Likely U.S. Voters now have at least a somewhat favorable opinion of Obamacare, while only slightly more (48%) view it at least somewhat unfavorably. The passion is still on the side of the opponents, though: The new findings include 19% with a Very Favorable view of the law, while 37% have a Very Unfavorable one. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Favorables for the health care law have fluctuated from a low of 39% to a high of 47% in regular weekly tracking this year. Unfavorables have run from 48% to 55% in that same period. But those with Strongly Unfavorable views have generally outnumbered those with Strongly Favorable ones by two-to-one.

Perceptions of the law have improved over the last three weeks as the congressional debate over the government shutdown centered over funding for it and despite the glitches experienced by the law’s new health insurance exchanges.

Fifty-one percent (51%) of voters still believe the law will cause the cost of health insurance to go up, but that’s down from a recent high of 60% in June and the lowest finding this year. Twenty-two percent (22%) think the law will make those costs go down. Nineteen percent (19%) expect health care costs to stay about the same.

Seventy percent (70%) believe the health care law is likely to cost more than official estimates, with 47% who say it is Very Likely. Nineteen percent (19%) think it unlikely to exceed official cost projections, but that includes only two percent (2%) who feel it is Not At All Likely to do so. Eleven percent (11%) are not sure.

Twenty-four percent (24%) expect the quality of health care in America to get better under the new law, while 43% think it will get worse. Twenty-six percent (26%) say it will stay about the same. The number who believe health care will improve has changed little over the last couple years, but voters are slightly less pessimistic about the law and more likely to think it won’t change things very much.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on October 18-19, 2013 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Fifteen percent (15%) of voters say they already have been helped by the law, while 27% say they have been hurt by it. Fifty-four percent (54%) say the law has had no impact on them.

A plurality (48%) still expects the law to increase the federal deficit, but 16% say it will reduce that deficit instead. Twenty-three percent (23%) feel it will have no impact. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure. This, too, marks a shift in attitudes from believing the law will increase the deficit to thinking instead that it will have no impact.

Seventy-five percent (75%) of Democrats have a favorable opinion of the health care law. Eighty-one percent (81%) of Republicans and 53% of voters not affiliated with either major party view it unfavorably.

Senior citizens remain the most critical of the law and believe most strongly than those who are younger that it will drive up costs and reduce the quality of care.

Even most Democrats continue to feel the law will cost more than officially estimated, but Republicans and unaffiliated voters believe that much more strongly.

Three-out-of-four GOP voters (74%) and a plurality (44%) of unaffiliateds think quality will suffer under the law, but just 17% of Democrats agree. Similarly, while 79% of Republicans and 53% of unaffiliated voters expect health care costs to go up as a result of Obamacare, only 27% of voters in President Obama’s party share that view.

Voters have said from the start of the health care debate that cost is their number one concern.

Fifty percent (50%) of Americans say they are paying more for health care than they were last year, but nearly as many (48%) think the private sector, not the federal government, is the way to keep those costs down.

Thirty percent (30%) believe the nation’s health care system will get better under the new law.

Forty-four percent (44%) of voters now rate Obama's handling of health care issues as good or excellent, while 47% give the president poor marks in this area.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on October 18-19, 2013 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.

We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.

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