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. MT

    "A majority of Americans over the age of 50 oppose Obama's plan; a majority of those under 50 support it."

    The majority over the age of 50 would likely be medicare recipients. How can they not be satisfied with the current medicare system, it is so efficient and effective for the care provided per dollar spent!

    Here is a hint for those that don't care enough to do any research. Directly from the GOA 7 cents of every dollar of medicare tax revenue goes straight to "administrative services" within the Federal Government before the revenue is even made available to fund medical services from providers.

    If 7 cents on every dollar you deposit in the bank was used for "bank administrative" costs before it hit your account, How long would you keep banking there?

    Government is never more efficient than the private sector except at spending your tax dollars!

    August 5, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  2. chelle

    Do you think that's because the younger voters realize that the health care system is unsustainable as it exists now??? That the younger voters CANNOT afford $1200.00 per month for heath insurance? That they would like to be able to change jobs? That they would like to select their own physicians, not have some HMO tell you what clinic and doctor you may see?

    August 5, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  3. linus, Chicago

    So senior citizens, who are already guaranteed government-insured health care, oppose a plan that would extend coverage to all Americans... nice.

    August 5, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  4. AJ

    I'm an advocate of healthcare reform but Obama's plan is not the one to do it. Without a single payor platform any healthcare reform plan does nothing to reign in consts and will be a failure. As a lifelong Democrat it saddens me that we have squandered a once in a life time opportunity and elected the wrong man for the job.

    August 5, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  5. GraceK

    So then the question becomes-Who is more likely to show up at the ballot boxes an cast a VOTE on Election Day in 2010? The young people or the Seniors? My bet is on the SENIORS!

    August 5, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  6. Andrew

    Obama doesnt even know whats in this bill and the 50 % for it dont know either! What do you expect? Why cant the people for a government plan understand the pros and cons rather than the dillusional possibility of greatness for all? Greatness and utopia for all is not possible.

    August 5, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  7. Librarian

    If the insurance companies are so successful why are they so afraid of a public option ? These profit-driven companies are actually spending over 1.4 MILLION A DAY to oppose Obama's plans and pay people to disrupt town hall meetings.

    August 5, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  8. Matt

    That's because seniors already have universal care and universal unemployment! Stop being greedy; we're paying for your social security AND your healthcare already.

    If this is about "our children and grandchildren," why don't we listen to them? They are far more aware of what's going on in this world then a retiree stuck in the McCarthy era.

    August 5, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  9. RJ Bakken

    Obama is acting stupidly by not validing that 50% of AMERICA doesn't want his health care plan.

    August 5, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  10. JDM

    He is trying to sell something that he did not write. It harder to sell the product than an Idea if you do not know the product. Th Health Care program is changing everyday.

    In the 1980, The Army had an idea call the Bradley Infantry vehicle, on paper it was a great Idea but too many Generals and Congress people wanted to add their 2 cents. By the time it hit the field, it was the worst vehicle ever. It took line level infantry soldier to complain for the Army to change the design back to what we needed to figth and win.

    The Health Care program is the new Bradley. What OB was talking about last year is not what we are going to get if we get anything. I belive he program is dead in the water. Sad, just sad.

    August 5, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  11. The Unshrub

    I am over 50 and I support it. I am disabled and my wife makes $65,000 a year with good insurance AND we still spend every penny we have on my medical care. My wife and I both worked for almost thirity years and saved a lot of money, but when I became disabled every penney was spent on my care in spite of us having "good' insurance. SOMETHING IS WRONG.

    August 5, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  12. TCM

    LIES! Americans aren't split over this decision; it's the 5% that want something for nothing....ACORN, etc.

    There's no generational split. The split is between those that work for a living, pay their insurance premiums and receive their deserved healthcare (85% of the nation) against the radical fringe and highly corrupt support base of Obama; where the majority are already heavily subsidized by the government...ACORN, SIEU, and the like are wanting to convert this country into a nanny state. For some reason "Profit, Sucess, and Hard work," are now dirty, terms...instead the country's settling for taking from those that have "made it," and handing it over to the undeserving.....If health costs were so out of control, how come there are so many blacks and hispanics having so many kids? Who's paying for this? Who? It's a ruse to gain power and control by the obama administration.

    August 5, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  13. AdamW

    Americans ARE NOT split on health care. Americans WANT UNIVERSAL healthcare. It's the GOP and media that keep acting like some don't. Only the lobbyists and wealthy don't. Ask any other normal American and they want universal healthcare.

    Our politicians have state funded "socialist" health care. How about they give up their healthcare and then we can talk. I want UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE. The insurance companies are criminals and care nothing for the people's health. I don't even mind if my taxes go up some to help pay for it. I just want to know when I get old and sick or even if I get sick now I will have a fighting chance like other civilized countries. In the U.S. they will cast you into the streets if you get sick and can't pay. That is horrible.

    August 5, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  14. KASSIE

    If you can afford heathcare now, just wait, with the costs rising and rising with no end in sight, you'll be next on the chopping block. You might beable to pay for monthly premiums however can you afford to pay the balance owed after insurance refuses to pay? Just a matter of time when NO ONE will beable to afford medical attention. Who will speak for you then? We need reform NOW!

    August 5, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  15. Daisy

    "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."

    Err....what about DOCTORS? I would MUCH rather have a system in which a DOCTOR and not some money handler makes decisions about my health. In the current system we have, unless you can afford to pay directly, doctors are just tools.

    August 5, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  16. Ellen

    I have insurance. I have met my $2,000.00 yearly deductable. Insurance has refused to pay most of the balance owed. Bankruptcy is my next move. I don't know why in the world I paid out for monthly preiums when nothing was covered.

    August 5, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  17. America Shrugged

    It's funny that according to this poll, senior citizens are the most opposed to healthcare for all considering they are the biggest benefactor of entitlement programs. This makes me very angry in that we all support taking care of our senior citizens, and here they are, out there screaming the loudest about socialism and don't think the rest of america should have a choice in having a public option. Reminds me of the woman who was screaming about Obama turning this country into a socialist country, and here she was getting SSI and bragging about not paying taxes because she was too poor. I just don't get why folks are so ignorant of facts and the definition of socialism, communism, liberalism, conservatism, or any of the ism's. Here's a challenge to all those who are getting taxpayer entitlements that hate Obama's healthcare/domestic policies..Give up your medicare and close out your bank accounts so you can't receive those evil liberal SS benefits. You'll feel better about actually walking the talk (not being a hypocrit) and we might reduce the federal deficits at the same time.

    August 5, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  18. S Callahan

    Interesting results.....the over 50 crowd have a more vested interest in health care...the likelihood of having one or more illnesses is high...while the under 50 health crisis decreases..common sense.
    So from my take I would say you (health care agenda) need to focus on the writing., stating, what are the assuarnces for good medical care for the over 50. That should be the message right now.

    August 5, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  19. Bone

    Well I am not over 50 and I strongly oppose this healthcare bill. Give kudos to the Obama Administration on their ability to sell their Healthcare scam. They are relentless in their push for the unabashed Obama goal of the Secular welfare state. He wants the US to mirror some of our European friends.

    August 5, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  20. Nancy - Houston

    Pres. Obama needs to get on TV and let us know the straight poop on how his plan would work. Even if he has to do a "Ross Perot" and use charts comparing his proposed plan with what we have now and how it will save dollars. Perhaps he can dispel some of the fears and questions that people have, especially Sr. citizens who seem to be not so keen on his plan. Seniors have little enough money coming in and sure don't need any more expense with their health care.

    August 5, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  21. Bethie

    Today it's the poor, tomorrow it will be the rest of us. Heathcare is becoming a heavy burden for most Americans. God help us all.

    August 5, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  22. barbara

    americans are no tsplit over this issue. those that oppose it are the ones that have medical insurance and are somehwt happy with it and that is equal to 85%. 85% cnn get your numbers straight.

    August 5, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  23. Ken

    And the manufactured horror stories keep coming from the Republicans. They would rather see this plan that would help so many fail rather than admit that a Democrat (and a black man at that) has a better idea.

    August 5, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  24. Jinkens

    I know of so many that will not go the doctor simply because they cannot afford it. My heart goes out to these individuals, they truly are forgotten in our society. America is becoming sad.

    August 5, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  25. Sylvia

    So now it's Obama's plan. That's about right, because we don't know what is in it, and won't be told. Until the bill comes. The government can't run a hurry-up clunker car program effectively, and we should trust them with the lives of our families? "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you," is a truism that seems to be forgotten.

    August 5, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
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