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Perceptions Of Overhaul Still Divided Along Partisan Lines

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From the Congressional Poll Connection: By Jason Dick

If President Obama and Democrats were hoping the public would come around on the healthcare overhaul passed in March, they might want to step up their outreach efforts. Just a few months after passage, perception of the law is deeply divided along partisan lines, according to the latest Society for Human Resource Management/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, conducted with the Pew Research Center.

Overall, 47 percent disapproved of the law, while 35 percent approved. Seventeen percent couldn't answer the question. Along party lines, the perception is stark: 82 percent of Republicans disapprove, while only 17 percent of Democrats disapprove. Independents track closer to the overall sample: 52 percent disapproved of the law, while 30 percent approve.

The administration has released a steady stream of rules pertaining to the new law. The president has made some pitches for it, most notably in early June, at a seniors' center in Wheaton, Md. He touted its benefits for Medicare enrollees, most notably the distribution of $250 checks to seniors who fall in the prescription drug "doughnut hole."

But with the exception of young people, disapproval ratings of the law are consistent among age groups, and track closely to the overall sample. People age 18-29 split, with 40 percent approving of it and 38 percent disapproving. Fifty-one percent of those 30-49 disapproved of it, while 33 percent approved. Among those 50-64, 48 percent approved and 37 percent disapproved. And among the elderly, one of the more faithful voting blocs, 52 percent disapproved of the law, while 31 percent approved.

People who disapproved of the law overwhelmingly thought it should be repealed -- 77 percent, while only 14 percent of that subsample said the law should stand to see how it works out. That translates to 37 percent of the overall sample saying the law should be repealed.

The poll of 1,001 adults reached by landline or cell phone was conducted Thursday through Sunday. The margin of error is 4 points for the entire sample, with larger error margins for subgroups.

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