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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. 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 |
  2. Cee

    I don't believe these POLLS are accurate. I have read and talked to many many people and ALL agree that a National or Socialized Health care system IS NOT in the best interests of the TAX PAYING American people.
    Where are these Poll numbers coming from? I wonder WHO is digging up these numbers ! Sure makes one think! The Democrates ( and Some Republicans ) will do ANYTHING to ingratiate themselves with the guy in the White House. You'd think he knew what he was doing. Most of these Cong and Senators have some experience and knowledge of this problem and viable possible solutions that won't take ten years to implement.
    The Congressmen and Senators we the people elected are NOT LISTENING TO US! HELLO there! You will be up for re-election sooner that you think. WE HAVE LONG MEMORIES I HOPE. You won't be able to ride in on anyone's coat tails this time!

    August 5, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  3. Julia Bolivier

    People under 50 just don't know where it's at. They have a lot of mistakes to make before they reach the level of wisdom of over-50ers.

    August 5, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |

    Split Support? Bush won the presidency by a slimmer margin

    August 5, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  5. Robert

    Simpy put – the youngins on koolaide don't know any different. Most of them thought by now they would have a free house and free insurance – but they will wait. They see nothing wrong because they have no clue on what the word 'consequences' means. In years to come, when Obama is tagged a worse President than was Jimmy Carter – only then will the koodaide drinkers wake up and go duh – guess we made a mistake!

    August 5, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  6. Deep Throat

    THE doctors and medical clinics will not accept medicare now. what more do they intend to do to destroy our medical insurance.

    August 5, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  7. Keith in Austin

    In reality the breakdown is like this;

    Hard working taxpayers...OPPOSE

    Freeloaders,illegals malpractice attys, socialists et al.....SUPPORT

    About a 60 / 40 ratio and Obama still wants to jam it down our throats!
    Wake up America before it's too late!

    August 5, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  8. ugogrl

    yes I support the president plan! He campaigned on promise to try his best to give all Americans health ins like congress! Now since he's doing t yall wants icize him.Its seems like the Rethugs dont want American people to have what they have! President Obama is working for the will of the people and thats what we voted for! I praise his efforts and I work for the fed gov and whats wrong with people wanting what we I have and Im under 40! The so call blue dogs I guarantee if yall make this fell for him you will be voted out of office by the majority of this party! Dont let scare tactics, right wing GOP's disrupt the mission of our beloved President! By the way, why isnt anyone calling out Glenn Beck for his accusations that our President is a racist against white folks! His cabinet is is mostly whites. !n townhal mtgs, bring ex of people that seriously nd hlthcare reform and let them and testify how they lost loved ones, denied coverage, lost ins due to loss, and etc! Lets debateaceful manner and be explained hw ll work! go getem Mr President

    August 5, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  9. Trade Freedom for Security, Lose Bothd

    To my knowledge, the Federal Government runs three health care programs: VA, Medicaid, and Medicare. I am not so sure those programs are getting rave reviews. Remember, this is the same Federal Government that has 130 pages of rules for Cash for Clunkers – 130 pages to trade in a car. How many rules will there be for your routine physical, cancer screening, or triple bypass? I guess if you have no other choice then complicated, expensive and crappy health care is better than nothing. But let me opt out.

    August 5, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  10. Proud Member..Party of No

    The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows that 31% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-nine percent (39%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -8.

    August 5, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  11. Peter

    I thought nobody new the details of the proposals, not even the majority of the congress. How do people support or oppose the reform if they don't even have any knowledge? What's the cost? How's the government going to pay for it? What's the impact on current employer-sponsored health insurance? Right and Left in this country really enjoy fighting with each other!

    August 5, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  12. maria gillan and dennis gillan

    We believe health care reform that includes a public option is important and necessary. I am very upset by Republicans blantant attemtps at misinformation and fear. It;s un-American.

    August 5, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  13. JS007

    Well, just like during the election, young, informed people support Obama's plan, while older people who are more averse to change and easier to scare by GOP lies are against it. It is sad that there are so many politicians and pundits in America who use health care as a political football when millions of people are going broke and some even dying due to the cost and inadequacy of the current system.

    Even if you want to keep health care DELIVERY private (if you are concerned about quality) I do not understand how private, for-profit INSURANCE helps? There have been many cases where their bureaucrats deny coverage just to have the patient die later, so why do people think they are any better than government bureaucrats? They just create more paperwork, charge more, and cannot be booted out in an election if they do a bad job.

    August 5, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  14. David

    I would be interested in seeing the actual questions these people are asked. Unfortunately, until the actual PLAN is complete, there is no way to tell the public ALL of the details of the PLAN.

    The media needs to shut the hell up until there is an actual plan from congress to present to the American public.

    August 5, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  15. Gerald

    And 50% of those polled do not pay any taxes , opps the article forgot to mention that part

    August 5, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  16. Loup Garou 782

    It's only natural that the young generation would support the obama plan. They have been educated by the likes of Bill Ayers, Sol Alinsky, Ward Churchill, Professor Gates and others. They attended churches listening to the likes of the America hating Rev. Wright, obama's mentor. The world owes them and as good little socialists they will do whatever is necessary to collect their due.

    August 5, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  17. RealityKing

    What Obama proposals!?? Congress is leading the proposals, not Obama.

    But nice try with the bias word semantics in your progressive polling techniques..

    August 5, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  18. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    Why the premature polling? The respective health care bills are still working their way through committee and are nowhere close to final! The bluster on both sides needs to just stop so that a bill can be made and then reviewed by the American people. Would you yell at a waiter and tell him the food is terrible before you even looked at the menu? I don’t mind waiting a bit to have this done right, but I don’t believe that screaming and elected officials is the way for honest discussion.

    August 5, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
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