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Approval rating for Affordable Care Act up slightly despite failed website launch

Despite early technical issues with the government’s health insurance exchange website after its launch on Oct. 1, American skepticism of President Obama’s health-care law appears to be thawing, a poll released Wednesday found.

The Gallup survey shows that American’s views of the Affordable Care Act are “slightly more positive now” than they were shortly before the launch of HealthCare.gov. Out of those polled, 45 percent now approve of the law compared to 41 percent in August.

Fifty percent said they disapprove, up one percentage point from August.

The poll surveyed more than 1,500 adults between Oct. 18 and Oct. 20 amid increased media attention over technical problems with the health insurance exchange website.

However, even with the website’s recent woes, the results suggest that the “poor performance of the health exchange sites may not at this point be negatively affecting American’s views of the ACA overall,” the report stated.

The survey also found that although Republican criticism of the law continues to remain high with an 86 percent disapproval rating, Democrats are more likely now than in August to approve of the health law.

Democratic approval has risen to 83 percent, up 12 percentage points since August, nearly matching the percentage of Republicans who disapprove.

If the website continues to falter, though, it could be a political headache for congressional Democrats, putting them on the defensive at a time when the party appears to have the upper hand coming out of the shutdown and debt default crises. Although several recent polls suggest that Republicans greatly damaged themselves by forcing the crisis, something Democrats will be quick to exploit.

Younger Americans also appear to be more positive toward the health-care law. Young adults aged 18 to 29 are more likely than middle-aged and older Americans to approve of the health-care law and are the only age group more likely to approve than disapprove.

Independent approval has also rose five points from August, but it is worth noting that their views remain significantly more negative than positive.

However, while Americans’ approval of the health law is slightly higher than earlier this year, other surveys conducted by Gallup still show that the majority of Americans would still be in favor of Congress modifying the health care law in some way — whether by repealing it entirely, scaling it back or expanding it.

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