Poll shows majority of N.J. residents support Obamacare
The Rutgers-Eagleton Poll has confirmed a majority of New Jersey residents support the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, yet it is flanked by a fervent opposition.
David Redlawsk, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling, discussed the need for general responses from the public, as the ACA open enrollment deadline expired March 31.
“We do [polling] six or so times per year. Since the Affordable Care Act open enrollment deadline was coming to an end, we decided that would be a good topic on which to do some polling,” Redlawsk said via email.
The survey analyzed a random sample of 816 New Jersey adults categorized by gender, age, race and education level.
Redlawsk was surprised to see a diverse number of arguments in opposition to Obamacare. Not everyone defied it because they considered it government overreach.
Fifty-five percent supported the law, including those who strongly supported it and somewhat supported it, while 40 percent opposed it strongly or somewhat, according to the survey. Only 30 percent of general respondents opposed it as a further intrusion of the government into health care reform.
“This is probably the most important aspect of this poll,” he said. “It suggests that media focus on all opponents as wanting to destroy the program is not accurate.”
The responses were divided along racial lines. Nineteen percent of white New Jersey residents strongly supported the law, while 27 somewhat supported it. But 57 percent of black residents strongly supported the decision while 35 percent somewhat supported it.
Redlawsk said black residents’ support is related to their political affiliations. Members of the black community are more likely to be Democrats than white members.
“The difference is probably driven by the fact the Democrats are much more supportive of Obamacare than are Republicans, regardless of race,” he said.
According to the Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics’s press release, 84 percent of Democrats somewhat support Obamacare while only 14 percent oppose the law. On the contrary, the Republicans rejected the law’s provisions.
The results were not divided by gender, but the reasons for opposing the law were different depending on gender.
Women were more likely to justify their adversity by claiming higher expectations for the health care program — which, in their view — did not ensure adequate health care access. Men were more likely to claim the law is an excessive intrusion from the government, Redlawsk said.
Reponses varied on education level. Respondents with a higher education were more likely to support the ACA, while opponents with a lower education demanded more initiatives.
The law’s effects seemed almost impalpable to the majority of the New Jersey citizens. Seventy-one percent said they were not affected while only a small percentage said they had benefited from its reforms.
Alescia Marie Teel, New Jersey communications lead for Enroll America’s Get Covered America campaign, emphasized the importance of public awareness to guide people in the enrolling process.
The Enroll America is a non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure Americans’ health coverage while promoting education and knowledge of the insurance act, Teel said.
As a non-partisan organization, the Enroll America’s purpose is to meet people’s needs, she said.
“Across the State we have seen New Jerseyans of every background, ethnicity and age who are hungry for information and eager to take advantage of the opportunity to get covered,” she said
Teel said as the enrollment deadline approached, people requested more information about their healthcare options.
Also, 900,000 people are still uninsured in New Jersey, she said. Providing affordable health care is a historic opportunity in our country.
Their team is engaged in educating people through an extended research and collection of data before the enrollment reopens Nov. 15, she said. They are also able to connect with a younger generation through social media.
“Our focus continues to be on helping bring information to people whether they are from churches or temples to sorority meetings to county fairs,” she said. “Our organizers also help deliver at supermarkets, bus stops, barber shops, colleges, universities and community events.”