Americans Just Don't Think Kathleen Sebelius' Departure Will Matter Much

The impending departure of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is bringing forth a kind of shrug from her fellow Americans. They may not view her with much approval, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds, but they don't think her leaving will change how the Affordable Care Act works.

Forty-one percent of Americans said they have an unfavorable opinion of Sebelius, while only 19 percent have a favorable opinion. But 39 percent said they weren't sure.

Americans divided along party lines in how they judged Sebelius, but in an asymmetrical way.

Among Republicans, likely influenced by the GOP's dislike of Obamacare, the majority view was thumbs down on Sebelius. Seventy-six percent said they had an unfavorable opinion, including the 55 percent who had a strongly unfavorable opinion. Only 3 percent had a favorable opinion, and 21 percent said they weren't sure.

Democrats, for their part, were most likely to hold their fire. Thirty-seven percent had a favorable opinion of Sebelius, and 13 percent had an unfavorable opinion. But 50 percent of Democrats said they weren't sure.

Independents were more likely to have a negative than positive opinion, 45 percent to 15 percent. Forty-one percent were unsure.

But Americans of all political stripes generally agreed that Sebelius' departure won't change how the health care law works, and few think she was the person primarily responsible for the flaws in the implementation of Obamacare.

Overall, 61 percent said they think Sebelius' departure won't make any difference in the law's implementation, including 81 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of independents and 49 percent of Democrats. Seven percent overall said her exit will improve implementation of the law, while 8 percent said it will make the situation worse and 24 percent weren't sure.

Earlier surveys had similarly found no great clamor for the HHS secretary to go. Two polls conducted last November, by Fox News and Quinnipiac University, showed more thought that Sebelius should stick around than that she should resign.

Likewise, only 5 percent of Americans in the HuffPost/YouGov poll -- including 2 percent of Democrats, 5 percent of independents and 10 percent of Republicans -- said Sebelius is the person most to blame for problems with the law's rollout. Forty percent pointed the finger at President Barack Obama, 21 percent at the consulting firms working on the website, and 12 percent at Republicans in Congress.

Obama was the most likely target of blame for both Republicans (71 percent) and independents (40 percent). Only 16 percent of Democrats said they blamed the president first, while 38 percent pointed at the consulting firms and 23 percent pointed at congressional Republicans.

Not only do Americans not care much about Sebelius' departure, many aren't even aware it's happening. Only 25 percent said they had heard a lot about her resignation, and 35 percent said they had heard nothing at all.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted April 11-14 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling.



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