President Obama at lunch with ACA supporters

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February 18, 2014

RAND Health Reform Opinion Study: Stability Masks Churn in ACA Opinion

photo by Reuters/Larry Downing

by Katherine Grace Carman

This week, we again report the newest data on public opinion of the Affordable Care Act from the RAND Health Reform Opinion Study.

This week, the percentage of respondents reporting a favorable opinion of the ACA remained stable, while unfavorable opinion dropped. Over the past month, we've seen weekly fluctuations in the percentages of respondents reporting unfavorable opinions and those saying “don't know.”

However, these fluctuations have been, for the most part, within the margin of error. This implies that opinion has actually remained remarkably stable.

Part of what makes our approach unique is that we survey the same respondents repeatedly over time. We split our 5,500-member panel into four groups and survey the first group during the first week of each month, the second group during the second week, and so on.

So when we look at changes in opinion from one month prior, we compare responses of the same group of people at two points in time.

Doing so for this past week shows that 10 to 15 percent of respondents continue to change their response each month. Thus, while we see remarkable stability in responses over time, this continues to mask churning of individual opinions.

Whether this stability will continue remains to be seen. Check back each week for updated data. Once per month we will also provide more detailed analysis about the results.