The Affordable Care Act continues to divide Californians, who remain skeptical four years after its passage despite the state’s relatively smooth launch in which more than 1.2 million people enrolled in health insurance coverage.
A new survey released late Tuesday found some 42 percent of state residents generally view the law favorably, while 46 percent harbor unfavorable opinions. Support is down somewhat since May, before a wave of targeted TV ads began in a handful of competitive congressional districts.
Democrats view the law positively while an overwhelming majority of Republicans (80 percent) see it unfavorably. Of the 1 in 5 Californians who say that they were aided by the law, 31 percent say that it allowed them or a family member to obtain or retain health care. Meanwhile, of the 1 in 5 who said they have been harmed by the law, more than half reported it led to higher costs while about 20 percent say it made it more difficult to get coverage.
The survey, by the Public Policy Institute of California, also determined likely voter sentiment on other major issues:
• Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown leads Republican Neel Kashkari by 21 percentage points in the race for governor, with the challenger failing to alter the dynamic after their only scheduled debate. Brown, running for a historic fourth term, leads Kashkari 54 percent to 33 percent among likely voters with fewer than 50 days before the general election.
• The latest results in the governor’s race show no change since July, and only half of those likely to vote on Nov. 4 say they are following news about the candidates. That’s down considerably from the free-spending governor’s race of 2010 between Brown and Republican former Meg Whitman, when 81 percent were following, and the 2006 contest between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democrat Phil Angelides, when 74 percent were tuning in.
• 58 percent favor Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond, a high priority for Brown and state lawmakers. After hearing the ballot title and label, 29 percent say they would vote no and 14 percent remain undecided.
• Nearly two thirds believe the state budget situation is a “big problem,” but only 43 percent support Proposition 2, the rainy day fund, also a priority for Brown and most lawmakers. It would establish a budget stabilization account and include a separate reserve for public schools. A third oppose the measure and a quarter are undecided.
• 48 percent back Proposition 45, a measure that would give the state’s elected insurance commissioner the authority to regulate health insurance rates. Some 38 percent are opposed and 14 percent are undecided.
• 62 percent support Proposition 47, which would reduce crimes such as drug possession and receiving stolen property to misdemeanors from felonies. Strong majorities of Democrats (69 percent) and independents (64 percent) would vote yes, as would about half of Republicans.
• 37 percent believe it would be a bad thing if legislative Democrats gained a two-thirds supermajority in the November election. Some 34 percent view a potential supermajority as a good thing and 28 percent say it would make no difference to them.
• 50 percent prefer that this year’s congressional elections lead to a Democratic-controlled Congress, which is unlikely to happen. Some 40 percent say they would prefer a Congress controlled by Republicans.
Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago