Could the Individual Mandate Really Be This Unpopular?

This morning the Associated Press and National Constitution Center released their latest survey on American attitudes toward governmental institutions and constitutional questions. Among other things, the poll shows that Americans appear to be increasingly comfortable with giving the President greater authority to address economic concerns. One of the results that caught my eye was a question on the individual mandate. Here’s the question:

Do you think the Federal Government should have the power to require all Americans to buy health insurance, and to pay a fine if they don’t or do you think the Federal Government should not have that power?

Eighty-two percent of respondents answered “no” to this question, and only sixteen percent answered yes. According to the AP and NCC, these results are nearly identical to a similar question asked a year ago. This is an opinion poll, so all the usual caveats about how a question is worded, etc., apply. Nonetheless, I found this result quite striking, and a bit surprising.