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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending January 14, 2011

It’s back to business for the new Congress this coming week following the tragic shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the killing of six others in Arizona. First up in the House is a vote to repeal the national health care bill passed last year by Democrats in the previous Congress.

Although that vote in the Republican-led House will be largely symbolic for now given continuing Democratic control of the Senate and White House, voter support for repeal of the health care law remains high, as does belief that the measure is likely to be repealed. 

One reason for that support is the view by 75% of voters that the health care law is likely to cost more than official estimates. Some supporters of the law say its repeal will drive up the federal budget deficit, but most voters believe repeal will either reduce or have no impact on government spending and the deficit. 

There’s no question that voters want to see the health care law changed, but there is substantial disagreement about how best to do it. Overall, 75% of voters want to change the law: 20% who want the law repealed and nothing done to replace it; 28% who want it repealed and then have its most popular provisions put into a new law, and 27% who say leave the law in place but get rid of the unpopular provisions. 

Some have argued that the angry tone of the debate over health care and other issues led to the shooting of Giffords last weekend. While Americans have closely followed news stories about the incident, most don’t feel politics was the cause of it.  Fifty-eight percent (58%) say it was a random act of violence by an unstable person.

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