August 18th, 2009
03:16 PM ET
10 years ago

Poll: Americans split on public option

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The public option: It's a lighting rod in the current storm of health care reform. Federal lawmakers are split over whether such a government option should be included in any bill that comes out of Congress - and a new national poll indicates that Americans are equally divided.

Forty-seven percent of people questioned in an NBC News survey released Tuesday say they oppose a public or government option that would compete with private health insurers, with 43 percent supporting such an option. That 4 percent gap is bigger than the poll's sampling error.

The survey also suggests that Americans are split over whether a public option would help lower health care costs and provide insurance for many of the millions of Americans without coverage. Forty five percent agreed with that description but 48 percent said a public option would reduce access to their choice of doctors and limit their options for medical treatment.

"The latest CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll indicates that views of the government versus private insurance companies is largely dirven by partisan views," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Two-thirds of Democrats say they want health care decisions to be made by the government rather than insurance companies. Two-thirds of Republicans prefer insurers to the government."

The NBC News poll was conducted August 15-17, with 805 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: Health care
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. susants

    This is a very interesting poll even though with small numbers. The public seems very confused by all the bickering. They will deeply regret refusing the public OPTION when they realize what they threw away for themselves and others as well as losing control of costs. We will probably never get another chance. No one has to give up private insurance or private doctors. They can use the OPTION or not use it. I am an American living in the UK; I cannot express my gratitute to Britain for fine doctors, hospitals, etc., all for free (I did pay my taxes). It is even better in France. We always find money for wars; why can't we find it for health, education and peace?

    August 18, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. Bedtime for Obonzo

    Good. Maybe now some of you Dems will stop posting comments that claim a "strong majority" of voters supports a public option.

    August 18, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  3. carowe

    Well, of course. The Republicans have large shares of stock in the insurance companies. They'd rather their tax dollars get thrown down the rat hole called Iraq than used to help a sick, impoverished child....especially if that also means more stock dividends for themselves.

    August 18, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  4. Diane

    Republicans are leading the lambs to slaughter. . . . . again. We, as a nation, will never learn. We are so easily fooled.

    August 18, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. Kelby In Houston, Texas

    Another poll?

    August 18, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  6. RealityKing

    NBC News survey!? HaHaHaHaHaHa!!!!

    August 18, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  7. Glen Shouse Jr., Georgetown, IL

    Nobody asked me. Why would anybody not want to save money on health care. Educate yourself, not from information on a billboard, or someone else's interpretation of the information. Go to the town hall meetings, and ask questions, not cause disruptions based on your second hand info., or study it for yourself.

    August 18, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  8. leon pa

    is not 50-50 is 80-20

    August 18, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. Wake Up

    NO PUBLIC way. Everyone should buy their own insurance. BUY YOUR OWN! BUY YOUR OWN!
    I'm sick of supporting the lazy and unwilling. Quit taking lib basement blog talking points and blaming insurance and drug companies. Federal Govt. shouldn't be involved in providing health care.
    Vouchers? fine. No govt run health care!! NO!

    August 18, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
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