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No huge drop in Obamacare support despite rocky rollout: Reuters/Ipsos poll

A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this October
A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this October

By Caren Bohan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The troubled rollout of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law has hurt the popularity of the initiative, but the decline has been fairly modest, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Monday.

Forty-one percent of Americans expressed support for the 2010 law popularly known as Obamacare in a survey conducted from Thursday to Monday. That was down 3 percentage points from a Reuters/Ipsos poll taken from September 27 to October 1.

Opposition to the healthcare law stood at 59 percent in the latest poll, versus 56 percent in the earlier survey.

There has been some shift ... but the shift has been small," said Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson.

Jackson said the relatively small change in the poll numbers was consistent with a pattern in place since the passage of the law three years ago in which opinions about it have fluctuated very little.

"Overall, these opinions are already pretty fixed," Jackson said.

"Most people already know where they stand by this point and it's going to take a lot more than a website - which very few of them are actually using - that's malfunctioning to actually get people to shift," he added.

Since the October 1 implementation of the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans have been unable to sign up for coverage on the federal government's website.

Several million people have also received cancellation notices from their health insurance plans, despite Obama's promises that people who wanted to keep their insurance would be able to do so.

Obama and his Democratic allies have been scrambling to stem the political damage from the problems. At a news conference last week, Obama apologized repeatedly for the botched rollout and promised to fix the problems.

Republicans have vowed to try to repeal the law, but the poll showed they could face some obstacles because some elements of the law, such as requiring insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions, remain popular.

Asked their views on the troubled Obamacare launch, 65 percent favored at least some changes in the health law. But some respondents favored only smaller changes such as delays in the deadline for requiring everyone without health insurance to sign up for coverage.

Forty-one percent of those polled said they found the problems "unacceptable" and that they were an example of why the healthcare law never should have been passed.

(Reporting by Caren Bohan; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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