WASHINGTON - Despite a late surge in sign-ups, support for President Barack Obama's health care law is languishing at its lowest level since passage of the highly controversial legislation four years ago, according to a new poll.
The Associated Press-GfK survey finds that 26 percent of Americans support the Affordable Care Act. Yet even fewer - 13 percent - think it will be completely repealed. A narrow majority expects the law to be further implemented with minor changes, or as passed.
"To get something repealed that has been passed is pretty impossible," said Gwen Sliger of Dallas. "At this point, I don't see that happening."
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius visits a United Way call center Friday in Austin, Texas, to highlight efforts to enroll Americans in health insurance before the Monday deadline.
Sliger illustrates the prevailing national mood. Although a Democrat, she's strongly opposed to Obama's unpopular legislation. Yet she thinks Obamacare is here to stay.
That central requirement that virtually all Americans have coverage or face fines remains highly unpopular. Forty-one percent said it should be completely repealed, about double the 19 percent who said it should remain in the law as passed.
Open enrollment season began with a dysfunctional HealthCare.gov website last Oct. 1. It will end at midnight Monday.
Impressions of the coverage rollout while low, have improved slightly.
Only 5 percent of Americans say the launch of the insurance exchanges has gone very or extremely well. But the number who think it has gone at least somewhat well improved from 12 percent in December to 26 percent now. The exchanges are marketplaces that offer subsidized private coverage to people without a plan on the job.
Of those who said they or someone in their household tried signing up for coverage, 59 percent said there were problems.
The poll found that 7 in 10 Americans believe the law will be implemented with changes.
Forty-two percent think those changes will be minor, and 30 percent say they think major changes are in store.
Combining the 42 percent who see minor changes coming and 12 percent who say they think the law will be implemented as passed, a narrow majority of 54 percent see either tweaks in store, or no changes at all.
The poll suggests that even the popular ban on insurers denying coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions could be tweaked. While 39 percent said it should remain as passed, 43 percent wanted to keep it with changes.
Larry Carroll, 64, a church deacon from Cameron, W.Va., says he's strongly opposed to the health care law, but doesn't have high hopes for repeal.
"The federal bureaucracy simply seems to be too strong," he said. "The federal bureaucracy is like an anaconda."
The poll found that much of the slippage for the health care law over the last four years has come from a drop in support, not an increase in opposition.
In April of 2010, soon after the law passed, 50 percent of Americans said they were opposed to it, while 39 percent were in favor. Now, just 26 percent say they are in favor.