August 5th, 2009
06:00 AM ET
4 years ago

CNN Poll: Americans split on Obama's health care proposals

A CNN Poll indicates that only 3 in 10 Americans think President Obama's health care plan will help their families.
A CNN Poll indicates that only 3 in 10 Americans think President Obama's health care plan will help their families.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Americans appear split over President Barack Obama's health care reform proposals, according to a new national poll.

Fifty percent of those questioned in CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday morning say they support the president's plans, with 45 percent opposed.

The results indicate a generational divide.

"Obama's plan is most popular among younger Americans and least popular among senior citizens," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "A majority of Americans over the age of 50 oppose Obama's plan; a majority of those under 50 support it."

The poll's release comes as lawmakers go back to their home districts and states for summer recess. The House of Representatives is already on break and the Senate heads home at the end of the week. Some lawmakers are holding town hall meetings or other public forums on health care reform over the next few weeks, where voters will get a chance to speak out about the various proposals for change. The poll indicates that seven in 10 Americans say they're very or somewhat likely to attend such events.

"Nearly half of those who oppose the Obama plan say they are more likely to attend town hall meetings to express their views on health care; only 37 percent of those who support Obama's plan are very likely to attend a public forum on that issue," adds Holland.

The poll indicates that only three in 10 of all Americans think the president's health care proposals will help their families. Another 44 percent feel they won't benefit but that other families will be helped by the president's plans, and one in five say no one will be helped.

"Less than a quarter of Americans with private health insurance think that Obama's proposals would help them personally. Most people on Medicare and Medicaid also don't think that the Obama plan will help them," says Holland.

The survey suggests that around seven out of 10 Americans think that major structural changes are necessary to reduce health care costs or provide insurance coverage to all Americans. At the same time, more than eight out of 10 people are satisfied with their own health care and nearly three out of four are happy with their own insurance.

In any health care system, tough decisions that affect individual patients - such as which people get certain treatments and which treatments are too expensive or ineffective - must be made. The poll suggests that Americans are split on who they prefer to make such choices, with 40 percent saying it should be the insurance companies and an equal amount feeling that the government should make the call.

The battle over health care is registering with people across the country. According to the survey, more than half of all Americans have strong feelings regarding the health care debate, with about a third saying they strongly oppose Obama's plans and 23 percent strongly in favor.

"On issues like this, intensity of opinion matters as much as numbers. Opponents of the president's health care reform seem to feel more intensely about it than Obama's supporters," says CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Friday through Monday, with 1,136 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Click here for full results (.pdf)


Filed under: Health care • President Obama
soundoff (196 Responses)
  1. Marie in California

    I sure don't support Obamacare! No way!

    August 5, 2009 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
  2. john m

    Well another day of republican-evangelical brianwashing, terror,deceitand distraction – anything to keep us from getting health care. Now the neocons are telling people that the old will be killed by Obamma. Yet at the same time he was not born an american. Who could forget the Terri Schiavo case? All the wonderfuls neocons tromping all over family and love and all american just to manipulate a comatose women of years death. Then condemn all americans as murders who have ever needed to use end of life care for a loved one? These people are the masters of distractions and distortions! Not one idea except that everyone just loves the current mess we call health care! tHEY IN CONGRESS HAVE THE BEST OF HEALTH CARE YET WE IN THE MIDDLE AND LOWER CLASSES DONT EVEN GET THE CRUMBS OF HEALTH CARE THEY DROP ON THE FLOOR! i HAVE HAD IT WITH THEM ALL IN CONGRESS ESPECIALLY THE BLUE-DOG chickens. These people are just afriad of everything that can help anyone. Just useless! Some of us are literally dying for health care. Then we have the selfish republican-evangelical liars!

    August 5, 2009 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  3. Marie MD

    Of course, we are split! Between the scary tactics of the repugs and the mob scenes being created by the BIG lobbying firms in DC, and thoughts (untrue) of being put out to pasture what do you expect.
    The government already runs one of the best healthcare service in the country. Just ask any federal employee!!

    August 5, 2009 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  4. Anonymous

    Why no have a national binding referendum and let the American people decide? Do we want national Health insurance yes or no The only way this will work if we have a one pay system. Put everyone on Medicare,with the insurance companies doing the supplement, and allow the people to buy there insurance anywhere.

    August 5, 2009 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  5. Bill LaPlante

    Many people in the older generation are frightened, thinking they are going to lose coverage the new health care plans. They are less willing to risk a known or an unknown.

    Many people in the younger generation are also frightened, but for a different reason. They typically have less coverage due to the high costs and recognize the need to change the system. They see change as a benefit over the long term.

    August 5, 2009 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  6. GI Joe

    I sure don't know who you folks are polling. Here in NC everyone that I know and most of their friends are FOR HEALTH CARE REFORM AND DO WANT THE PUBLIC OPTION.

    But then, it's not a wealthy state, and lots of people here have been put into bankruptcy or had Insurance denied because of pre-existing conditions. Or even NOT pre-existing denials. They have to suffer illness and then FIGHT WITH INSURANCE COMPANIES AND THREATEN TO SUE. Get the Insurance Companies out of our healthcare facilities.

    August 5, 2009 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  7. Grahame

    The Republicans will stop at nothing. they are just doing their usual disiformation attacks. It's obvious that Mitch McConnall is in the pay of the insurance companies who will do anything to get this bill killed. But it's only a question of time anyway since the average age of Obama's support comes from the younger generation. Old fossils like McConnall and company will all die off soon and then things will change for the better.

    August 5, 2009 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  8. Dawn Ada, Ohio

    I find it ironic that the people who are already receiving nationalized health care are those who are the most opposed. They have theirs and now they don't want the rest to have it as well??? But beside that point... the 50% who agree voted in this majority and this President and the majority and the President need to push forward and get this passed. As for those nut jobs who are going to the town halls and disrupting... I will be at the next town hall in my area and I will be chanting against them.... Right Wing Nut Jobs GO HOME!!! The people who are for this need to get up..........WE ARE NOT DONE!!! WE voted in the man who can get this done............NOW is time to act, go fight for what you voted for!!!

    August 5, 2009 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  9. jd

    Obama has lied over and over again, it is as bad or worse than when Bush was running things. Now he tries to rush through Health Care reform as fast as he can so we can't read it and see what it will do. He is destroying this country and our way of life. IF t his plan is so good than He and Congress should also have to be on it. . . Why are they exempt???? What is he trying to pull on us??

    August 5, 2009 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  10. TH

    What happened to hard work and effort? I worked during college, used my GI bill from serving in the US military and took out school loans. I received academic scholarships at the community college to attend a private school and then borrowed money for law school. I still owe 85,000 for school and pay over 45% of my income for state and federal taxes. I live in a modest house, own a modest car and live within my means. I'm not rich my any standard. If I kept the other half of my salary, I would be spending more on the economy and employing individuals.

    So now additional federal tax dollars are being allocated to pay others to go to school. There is already a program that provides money to low income- it's called Pell Grants. I know- I received a couple while I was going to school and have sence repaid that debt via the taxes I pay.

    Federal tax money has been spent to allow others to buy cars, go to school and re-modify home loans. Is there anything else people want for free that American tax dollars can be used for?

    No Press Secretary Gibbs- this is not manufactured frustration.

    August 5, 2009 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  11. robert

    "there seems to be a generational divide" That says it all. All of the elders on Capital Hill are still trying to to run over the young people. The young people of this country have had it. We want CHANGE. That is why we voted for Obama. Not because he is african american and not because he has a good looking family. We believed in his message. We believed in him. Get on board and stop thinking about your next run for office. If all of you on Capital Hill would get over yourselves and listen you can be apart of this great opportunity to unite. i find it funny that the ones who are worried about this aren't going to live long enough to have to pay it back. Let us!!!!!! We want it.

    August 5, 2009 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  12. Martin

    I question those poll numbers because almost everone I talk about the health plan with does not want the government involved. Is it more political lies?

    August 5, 2009 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  13. Maritza

    The headline actually is that the MAJORITY of Americans support Obama's health care plan. This is different from many polls which show the opposite.

    August 5, 2009 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  14. Willy Brown

    No tax paying legal citizen in America likes the idea of being forced into a program that will reward illegal aliens for votes.

    August 5, 2009 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  15. Kate in SW Fla

    Well, the older generation is being fed misinformation. You have commentators on a large, national television station telling them that this is about euthanizing them. It is just so ridiculous. The older people still have this irrational fear of "nationalized health care," which none of the plans being discussed come close to being. Now they have these loudmouthed mobs out there preventing the real discussions from going on. If they would close the mouth, and open the mind, they may learn something. A lot of them are the very people who have time to go to the town halls because they are retired and are already ON national healthcare – MEDICARE! They are the ones who are bankrupting the country but pretty much ignorant.

    August 5, 2009 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  16. Neilz

    Your poll states 74-77% of the respondents feel it is necessary to make major structural changes in the nation’s health care
    system in order to make sure that all Americans have health insurance and to control or reduce costs.
    But I couldn't find any definition of just what Barrak Obama's plan actually is. Nobody really seems to know. Since Obama and Baucus forcibly removed single payer advocates from the debate back in May, there's been nothing but confusion on what Obama's plan for reform entails.
    So viewing the poll's split support for the mysterious Obama "Reform is what I say it is" and taking into account the numbers recognizing the need for reform, I think all the poll indicates is confusion within the respondents as to what is actually going on.
    You should have asked them, "Is your elected leadership selling you down the river?"
    Ot. "Is your leadership corrupted by big business influence?"
    Or, "How is the media doing in reporting the healthcare debate?"

    August 5, 2009 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  17. charlie in Maine

    They did not ask my Dad. He is 85 and if he were to have a complaint about it , it would be that it is not a single payer plan and doesn't go far enough.

    August 5, 2009 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  18. ric in NY

    This poll is garbage and since it's a CNN poll, it's tilted left to favor Obama.

    ANYONE SEEN THE TOWN ALL REACTION TO OBAMACARE?

    I think it's more than just an even divide and it will NOT pass in its current form.

    August 5, 2009 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  19. Kevin

    We're going about overhauling the health care system in the US all wrong in my opinion. We should be increasing the supply of medical services. If you're going in for a routine checkup, you don't need a certified doctor that's had 8 years of medical studies. Provide associate degrees that allow you to perform a checkup. If something's found, it gets referred to the appropriate doctor. Subsidize the education for doctors and require them to do the routine tasks before being fully certified. Services that are provided to illegal aliens should be billed back to their countries. If they don't pay, it should be taken out of any foreign aid that we give that country. We need CHANGE. What's being proposed is more of the same.

    August 5, 2009 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  20. Pragmatic

    If Americans would just take a deep breath, and realize that the insurance companies are spending your health care payments to lobby Congress, as well as media time for a huge 'fear and smear" campaign, you might feel differently. They do not want reform!!! Why??

    People, when asked, like their current plan but admitted that the rates keep going up and the coverage keeps going down ... you might be able to afford it this year but what about 2 years down the road – or if you lost your job??

    August 5, 2009 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  21. TRUTH TOO BIG TO SWALLOW

    HECK! Make the the INSURANCE COMPANIES pay for the Public Option

    They're rolling in it....Why not?

    August 5, 2009 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  22. Angus McDugan

    Yes they are just like in the election (which was not a land slide). There are people who support ObamaCare and the others which the DNC calls extremest. Obama stop the name callilng. Obama should have done this during th election cycle when Hillary was unfairly attached by his team and he did not have the guts to denounce the comments. What a man!

    August 5, 2009 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  23. mary smithy

    Obama and the state run media are out of touch with America.
    Your daze are over. The liberals AND the moderate republican will be OUT.
    FISCAL conservatives are on the way in.

    August 5, 2009 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  24. Paul

    This is one of the main issues in the election. We have to back him now. He is right that to do nothing is the worst possible scenario.
    I have health insurance, but we need something better.

    August 5, 2009 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  25. dominican mama 4 Obama

    I'm not surprised as to the numbers in the polls: the young are less likely to believe the fearmongering of the RepubliKlan agenda; our older citizens, especially in the South, are more susceptible to it. It is unfortunate that in the upcoming 2010 elections it is the senior citizens that are more prone to get out and vote. were it otherwise we could dispatch the Republiklans to a warmer climate area.

    August 5, 2009 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
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