A C-SPAN survey out Friday shows almost all Americans will be paying close attention as the Supreme Court begins three days of arguments surrounding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and its linchpin, the individual mandate.
C-SPAN enlisted the help of research firm Penn Schoen Berland to do an online survey of 1,000 American adults on March 21 and March 22. When asked how interested they were in the Supreme Court's cases concerning the constitutionality of the health care reform law, 95 percent said they were interested, with 65 percent saying they were "very interested."
Ninety-eight percent of those interested are likely voters, according to the C-SPAN survey.
Though the hearings will not be televised, respondents are likely to seek out avenues for information. In fact, 61 percent said there is already too little coverage. Almost half — 44 percent — will be closely following news and information about the cases concerning health reform, and 74 percent agreed the court should have allowed television coverage of the arguments.
The public will, however, be able to hear same-day recordings of the proceedings, which are expected to span an unusual six hours over three days. Supreme Court argument audio is typically not available until the end of each argument week, so the same-day audio release is another stray from the norm, which the court says is due to "extraordinary public interest."
Fifty-four percent of respondents said they will make an effort to listen to the audio. Recordings and transcripts will be available at www.supremecourt.gov by 2 p.m. The court will allow 90 minutes on Monday, two hours on Tuesday, and two and a half hours on Wednesday.
Going into the proceedings, Americans believe strongly that the Supreme Court is going to be split on political grounds. Sixty-five percent said they believe the justices will act unobjectively, but when asked which justice will have the biggest influence, 50 percent said they didn't know.
In its final reform-related question C-SPAN of course asked whether Americans strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose health reform. As has been the case in several polls issued recently, the response was divisively split almost down the middle, with 52 percent in favor and 49 percent oppose. Along party lines, the segments were 82 percent of Democrats in favor and 81 percent of Republicans oppose.
[Click here for ongoing coverage of the Supreme Court arguments on health reform and the individual mandate]
More coverage of the individual mandate from BenefitsPro:
- Six potential outcomes for health reform
- Most expect court to rule against individual mandate
- Supreme Court ruling politically influenced
- Most Americans say individual mandate is unconstitutional
- Gov't defends core of health reform