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Poll: NJ Residents Have More Favorable Opinion Of Affordable Care Act But Are Less Informed

President Obama signs into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (Credit: Win McNamee/ Getty Images)

President Obama signs into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (Credit: Win McNamee/ Getty Images)

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MONMOUTH, NJ (CBS) – While New Jersey residents feel more positive about the Affordable Care Act than residents across the country, they also know less about it.

That’s according to the latest poll from Monmouth University Polling Institute and the NJ Health Care Quality Institute.

The poll, which is the first “Health Matters Poll” in a series meant to gauge the attitudes of Garden State attitudes on health care-related issues, surveyed 783 randomly selected New Jerseyans between Sept. 6-10, 2013.

The results reveal that just under half, or 45%, of New Jersey residents have a favorable opinion of the ACA reforms. That’s a larger percentage than detected in a national Kaiser poll, which found just 37% of Americans felt good about the ACA. According to the Health Matters Poll, 40% had an unfavorable view of the law and 16% had no concerns.

But though New Jerseyans might be feeling more positive about the Affordable Care Act, they’re also less knowledgeable about specific aspects of the new law than they think. Just 1-in-3 New Jersey residents have heard a lot (11%) or some (31%) about the new health exchanges that open on Oct. 1, numbers that mirror those of the Kaiser national poll. But NJ respondents proved less informed about the ACA’s individual mandate. Just over half the state (56%) was aware that the new law requires almost all Americans to have health insurance by next year or pay a fine, and another 24% erroneously claim there’s no such mandate within the law. Another 21% were unsure that provision exists.

And of those in the state who are currently uninsured, only 58% were aware of the individual requirement.

Meanwhile, the nationwide poll found 74% of Americans said the ACA requires individuals to purchase health coverage or pay a fine – 18 percentage points higher than the New Jersey results.

This data “suggests that a lack of a statewide public awareness campaign could have an impact on residents’ compliance with the mandate,” the Monmouth University Polling Institute says.

Still, 62% of uninsured New Jerseyans said they will probably obtain health coverage for 2014 after hearing about the individual mandate.

The poll results were released just ahead of Oct. 1, when the state-level insurance exchanges officially open.

For more information on the Affordable Care Act, click here.

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