More say Democrats were dishonest during healthcare debate

William JordanUS Elections Editor
November 24, 2014, 12:57 PM GMT+0

Less than half of Americans think Obamacare’s Republican opponents were honest about the law in 2010 – but the number is even lower for the Democrats who wanted it passed

The latest controversy surrounding the Affordable Care Act (known as Obamacare) comes from an unlikely source: MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, a supporter of the healthcare reform law who played a role in crafting it. In recently uncovered videos Gruber says the “stupidity” of American voters and a “lack of transparency” were key to getting the law passed. Obamacare critics say the comments confirm what they have been arguing all along – that the law was passed in a dishonest, underhanded way – while Democrats have sought to disavow Gruber’s comments along with Gruber himself. In response to the furor over the videos, President Obama himself has denied deceiving voters to pass his signature law.

However, many people do have doubts that Democrats were honest about Obamacare when it passed, including some people who otherwise support the law themselves.

44% say the Democrats were being dishonest when they were trying to drum up support for the law back in 2010, and only 30% say they were honest. By contrast, more people today see the Republicans as having been honest (42%) than dishonest (36%) when they were trying to get people to oppose the law.

Predictably, many people are also hazy on the events, which took place over four years ago. 23% respond “not sure” when asked about the honesty of Republicans in 2010, while 26% say the same about Democrats.

Partisanship and the law's continued unpopularity probably affect how the American's remember the debate over the law. Even so, the survey finds that the law’s supporters are more likely to have doubts about the honesty of Democrats than its opponents are about the honesty of Republicans.

Nearly a fifth (18%) of self-professed Democrats and 17% of people with a favorable opinion of the 'healthcare reform law' say Democrats were dishonest about it back in 2010. In comparison, only 5% of Republicans and 8% of people who dislike the law say Republicans were dishonest.

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Full poll results can be found here.