Majority oppose GOP plan to defund Obamacare, poll finds

11:18 AM, Aug 28, 2013   |    comments
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(CBS NEWS) -- A clear majority of Americans are opposed to the Republican-led effort to defund Obamacare, a new poll shows.

Fifty-seven percent of Americans say they disapprove of the proposal to cut off funding as a way to stop the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to a new survey from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

There are clear partisan divides -- six in 10 Republicans say they approve of the idea, while just 15 percent of Democrats and 39 percent of independents support it.

The current effort to defund Obamacare has driven a wedge in the GOP and ultimately would have little impact on the implementation of the health law, but a passionate contingent of Republicans has nevertheless kept the idea alive.

The initiative, led by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, would block any government funding bill that includes funds for the implementation of Obamacare. The idea would presumably give conservatives leverage on the matter, since Congress needs to pass a government funding bill by Sept. 30 or risk letting parts of the government shut down. High-profile conservatives like Lee and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, have kept up the campaign's momentum and plan to participate in a tea party "Exempt America from Obamacare" rally in Washington next month.

The campaign, however, does not have enough Republican support in Congress to go anywhere, and several Republicans have dismissed it as a gimmick. Conservatives like Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., explained their opposition by pointing to a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service which explained that even if the government were shut down, most of Obamacare would still get funding from multi-year budgets and mandatory spending.

On Fox News earlier this week, Cruz said the campaign to defund Obamacare is gaining "real momentum" among conservative voters.

"The people fighting the hardest against defunding Obamacare are Republicans," he lamented. "The Republicans are all shooting at those who are trying to work with the grassroots... How do we win? First, we get 41 Republicans in the Senate to stand together and 281 Republicans in the House."

Cruz isn't the only one blaming his fellow conservatives. Some tea party groups, inspired by conservative radio personality Mark Levin, are reportedly threatening to start calling Obamacare "Boehnercare" if House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, does not voice his support for the defunding plan.

"Rather than calling it Obamacare, we should call it Boehnercare," Levin said on his radio show last week. "So I think I'm going to call it Boehnercare, if I can remember from time to time, certainly more often, because Boehner won't even fight. Boehner, he's just--is the word 'pathetic' appropriate?"

While the defunding effort has caused controversy, the health care law itself is also unpopular. The Kaiser poll found that just 37 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Obamacare, while 42 percent have an unfavorable view.

As many as 51 percent say they don't have enough information about it to understand how it will impact them and their family, while as many as 44 percent either think the law has been repealed (8 percent), overturned by the Supreme Court (5 percent) or are unsure whether it remains the law (31 percent).

The nationwide poll, conducted August 13-19, surveyed 1,503 randomly selected adults and has a margin of error of three points.