Poll: Obamacare is President Obama’s “Biggest Achievement” and “Biggest Failure”

December 21st, 2016

USA Today and Suffolk University have released a poll assessing President Obama’s legacy: unsurprisingly, it is split along party lines.

When asked about President Obama’a “biggest achievement,” the most popular response was “Healthcare/Affordable Care Act,” with 23.5%. This number surpassed the economy and terrorism. But Obamacare was also his “biggest failure.”

Here are the poll numbers:


When asked about the President’s “biggest failure,” a slightly larger share–26.7%–indicated “Healthcare/Affordable Care Act.”

In 2012, after the Supreme Court upheld the ACA, President Obama boasted that he was proud his legacy would be defined by the ACA. I offered this discussion in Unprecedented:

When a reporter from Rolling Stone asked President Obama if he would “mind if historians call the achievement Obamacare?” He replied, “I’ll be very proud. . . . As time goes on, as people see what it does, as it gets refined and improved, people will say, ‘This was the last piece to our basic social compact.’”

Blackman, Josh. Unprecedented: The Constitutional Challenge to Obamacare (p. 269). PublicAffairs. Kindle Edition.

I don’t think this is quite how he wanted to be remembered: his biggest accomplishment was also his biggest failure.

More to the point, the poll also asked people what they thought President Trump would to President Obama’s “legacy in office.” 58.5% said Trump would unravel it.

Though the pool was split (along party-lines) about whether this is a “good thing” or a “bad thing.”

Six in 10 predict incoming president Donald Trump will significantly dismantle Obama’s legacy. Three-fourths of Democrats call that a bad thing; three-fourths of Republicans call it a good one.

Though, these numbers can change if whatever Republicans replace Obamacare with is deemed worse. Or not.