Poll: Republicans follow healthcare case closely

WASHINGTON Fri Mar 30, 2012 5:52pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration's healthcare law continues to be a stronger rallying point for Republicans than for Democrats, according to a Reuters/Ipsos online poll released on Friday.

The poll found a partisan split in how closely people are following a Supreme Court case about the two-year-old law: 80 percent of Republicans are aware of the legal fight, compared to 62 percent of Democrats.

It also found that 51 percent of Republicans said they would be "much more likely" to vote for a member of Congress who favors repeal of the law.

Democratic sentiment was less fervent, as 31 percent said they would be "much less likely" to vote for such a lawmaker and 31 percent said they were not sure or did not know.

"This is a debate that has been used by the Republican Party and Republican media to mobilize their side, whereas Democrats are much less enthusiastic about it," Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson said.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online Wednesday to Friday and is based on answers from 660 Americans.

The data were weighted to the U.S. population by factors like gender and age. The poll is precise to plus or minus 4.4 percentage points, based on a measure that statisticians call a credibility interval.

The Supreme Court held three days of oral arguments this week on whether to strike down part or all of the law as an overreach of government authority.

Wide media coverage of the arguments did not shift opinion, the poll found. Forty-four percent of respondents said they favor the law and 56 percent said they oppose it, the same split as in a Reuters/Ipsos online poll taken March 23-27.

(Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Stacey Joyce)

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