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56% Favor Delaying Individual Health Care Mandate, 26% Opposed

Now that President Obama has delayed implementation of the employer mandate portion of his new national health care law, most voters think he also should delay the requirement that every American buy or obtain health insurance.

Only 35% of Likely U.S. Voters favor the individual mandate anyway, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Fifty-six percent (56%) oppose the law’s requirement that every American obtain health insurance or else be forced to pay fines. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

By a two-to-one margin, 56% to 26%, voters want the president to delay implementation of the individual mandate.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of Democrats favor the individual mandate. Eighty-four percent (84%) of Republicans and 57% of voters not affiliated with either major party are opposed. Seventy-one percent (71%) of GOP voters and 58% of unaffiliateds want to delay this mandate. Democrats are more evenly divided--43% favor a delay and 35% are opposed.

“It’s interesting to note that not all who oppose the individual mandate favor a delay in its implementation and not all who favor the mandate oppose the delay,” said Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports. “This may be due to political considerations as some who favor the mandate might want it deferred until after the 2014 elections. Others may want to see it eliminated rather than delayed.”

While most voters still oppose the individual mandate, most support the employer mandate. Fifty-nine percent (59%) of voters favor requiring companies with 50 or more employees offer health insurance to their employees. Thirty-four percent (34%) oppose this employer mandate.

Most voters have opposed the individual mandate from the start, and a high of 69% said in November 2011 that the government does not have the constitutional authority to force everyone to buy or obtain health insurance. In late June of last year, however, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the health care law’s constitutionality.

Overall, just 39% now have a favorable opinion of the president’s health care law, while 55% view it unfavorably. Opposition to state implementation of the law has been growing throughout this year.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 10-11, 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.

Eighty-two percent (82%) of voters have been closely following recent news reports about the health care law, including 45% who are following Very Closely.

Younger voters support both the individual and employer mandates more strongly than their elders do. Still, a plurality (49%) of voters under 40 opposes the requirement that every American must buy or obtain health insurance, and 59% of these voters think the administration should delay its implementation.

When it comes to the employer mandate, 89% of the voters in the president’s party and 49% of unaffiliated voters favor the idea. Sixty-one percent (61%) of Republicans oppose requiring those with 50 or more employees to offer health insurance to their workers.

Ninety-one percent (91%) of voters who favor the individual mandate also support the mandate on employers. Just 56% of those opposed to the individual mandate oppose the employer requirement.

Support remains high for allowing Americans to choose the level of health insurance they want based on how it impacts their pocketbooks. If they had a choice, 59% of voters would choose a less expensive health insurance plan that covered only major medical expenses and let them take home a bigger paycheck. 

This underscores the point Scott Rasmussen made in a newspaper column earlier this year that consumers are set to repeal a big part of the health care law. 

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 July 10-11, 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.

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