August 5th, 2009
06:00 AM ET
12 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. howie

    A large group from my area will attend any meeting we can to voice out disgust and disapproval or Obama's plan. It is no good.

    August 5, 2009 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  2. Larry

    Polls like this have NO meaning

    Most Americans have little clue about the core principals of legislation such as this

    Anyone who truly cares about us less affluent Americans, would certainly want good health care for everyone

    It's only Big money, Insurance companies and those politicians who reap payoffs that appose this type of proposal

    August 5, 2009 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  3. Andy J, NY, NY

    Take your health care proposal and shove it.

    We don't want the garbage you are peddling.


    Its not out of context, its not a lie or "misinformation." It is a FACT because HE SAID IT... in plain english.

    So, was he lying then, or is he lying now?

    The Dems might as well just ask us: "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?"

    August 5, 2009 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  4. Wake Up

    Less coverage, less choice, long lines and government making choices on the health care...why is anyone for this?
    There are better options. Check Senator Jim Demints health care proposal. That's the right one to go with. some research before you blindly follow another ridiculous government program that will forever in debt this country.

    August 5, 2009 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  5. kishen c.rao

    most of the elderly are misguided, they think they lose their coverage...but in fact, they do not know, how all these private insurance companies are is a GOP biggest drama, we need to come out of it...and say yes on health care reform...nation needs it direly...ok...I got a conference call from richard burr's office, when most of the people asked about the questions, mr. burr said, I will put aside, and answer later...never answered...well, it is GOP's drama, and they go any further to and including Bluedog dems..need to stay together and pass this health care reform...our nation needs it direly...people, poor, are suffering in america...wake up...guys...pass this health care reform...don't be GOP...writer is a highly educated one...god bless....

    August 5, 2009 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  6. Lotta Muni

    50 % support it, but 100% will have to pay for it.

    August 5, 2009 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  7. Clint Harris

    What is it about the overwhelming desire of over 73% of americans to have a public option and choice don't you (CNN) understand. The New York times latest survey indicates when people are asked if they would like a Medicare type public option, the majority of respondents were in favor of the public option. The corporate media appears to be siding with the anti healthcare reformers and the right wingers. This is not a partisan issue. People are losing their healthcare all across the country and 18,000 are losing the lives. CNN and the corporate media should be unbiased in their reporting on this and other issues.

    August 5, 2009 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  8. Mark of Saint Louis

    A biased poll. Most Americans say that they like their current plan and that the Government run alternative is no good.

    August 5, 2009 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  9. Ken in Gainesville

    Of course, with events ochestrated by the right-wing fringe to attack anyone supporting health care reform, one might think there really is a question of its necessity. This is not the case. Republicans oppose everything because they favor the status quo – great contributions from the insurance industry, big HMOs, and drug companies. And of course, they all have health care. People need to stand up to these right-wing thugs, and not take the bully's lip. Those who believe in health care need to contact their Congressmen, and fight back at these "town hall" paid-for shows.

    August 5, 2009 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  10. Larry

    What is real unfortunate is that there are so many lies and half truths floating around about health care reform that no one really knows what's in the bill.

    The health care industry has already put over $200 million this year into lobbying against health care reform.

    August 5, 2009 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  11. Tom Paine

    Split?!?!? As in 80-20 against it?

    August 5, 2009 09:00 am at 9:00 am |

    Let's give it a try, for a year or two and if it doen't work, let's can it.
    I sure think Medicare is teriffic, and that's a "government program".
    Hey, let's join the civilized world.

    August 5, 2009 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  13. Wake-me-when-it's-over

    Keep your voices ringing Patriots! Go to these town halls whenever possible to scream some sense into the Democratic Liberal Representatives. Stop President Obama's 'socialist agenda'. There are some great BI-PARTISAN plans out there, so when you are shouting out... ask about giving Amercians a tax credit to buy their own coverage, and expanding choices for Americans. Oh, and how about reducing costs (aka saving money)?

    President Obama is losing it... his ego is wounded... and his mirror of magnificence is tarnishing. We only want HIS POLICIES TO FAIL, he
    is our President too (at least until 2012). Conservatives UNITE!!!

    August 5, 2009 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  14. Heidi Macumber

    Obama has failed at everything unless you think that socializing our country is a success. He is not American, and he doesn't like 1/2 the country although he was supposedly elected to care for the entire population. His kind of policies are heading toward destruction of the USA. The 50% Americans over 50 are the taxpayers versus the 50% under 50 who are not the taxpayers. Also, those over 50 have learned more valuable life lessons than those under 50 and have a great deal more wisdom in all things. Just because we have educated our younger people does not make them wiser, just more book-learned. We've all been there and learned how to live life after college days.

    August 5, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  15. joe

    I think the problem stems from Mr. Obama's aggressive time table for aggressive policy changes – we are all still waiting on his green job creation, his stimulus, for someone to execute a PIIP transaction. These types of bills are hundreds of pages long and this is too important a change to be shoved down everyone's throat to vote on in record time. Does anyone really know what the bills comprises? Maybe Mr. Obama should tackle one issue at a time, resolve it and move forward. The Economic recovery should be complete before going on to another project and allow both congress and the senate to digest what he is proposing.

    August 5, 2009 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  16. Murphfa

    I totally oppose this proposal for health care reform. I do not want to keep paying and paying and paying for government programs. Our taxes are way out of line now and will get much worse if we let the government keep spending, spending, spending. Let's stop this NOW. Times are bad and the government is making them worse. . . Quit taking away peoples motivation to get out and support themselves. The way things are getting, all they have to do is hold out their hands and they are given everything they need and not having any reason to go out and make a living for themselves. Stop the stupidity of the government. Get some new blood in the house and senate to change things and make our founding fathers proud.

    August 5, 2009 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  17. Deborah/Kansas City

    I am over 50, so is my mother, so are many of my aunts and uncles; we all are in favor of the Public Not for Profit Option. Who are you polling? Older white people from the South?

    August 5, 2009 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  18. Chris From TX

    We NEED healthcare reform but we don't NEED this Healthcare reform Bill. It is a terrible bill that they put together just to get something through. It is a terrible bill. They could have just passed a law to eliminate pre-exsisting condition clauses. Also close some holes in the umcompemsated care funding.

    August 5, 2009 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  19. jaye

    WHY are people against healthcare for all? WHY?
    The republicans in the senate have excellent healthcare, so ask yourself WHY they don't want it for everyone.
    It's politics as usual – and the republicans are using scare tactics based on lies and stirring up their supporters to vote against healthcare.
    They want to destroy our president, and they will succeed unless the democrats, and the media, pushback against the lies.
    Why isn't CNN investigating the lies and innuendo instead of helping spread them. And why is Lou Dobbs still spreading his birther crap?
    Shame on you CNN for letting us down.

    August 5, 2009 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  20. buckwheat

    I do not see why anyone would be surprised at what Obama would do when he has access to what is left of the US Treasury. You wanted change and you got it.

    August 5, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  21. kyle from ohio

    Question, Why do the headlines continue to say Obama's Health Care plan. Don't you as a news organization know how Federal bills and laws are created in the USA. this is a president who has said he would sign a Health care bill if it has serveral points in it. This is congress health care bill (Dem's and Repub) those that chose to work on it, For the American people. So Congress you are not off the hook, Make a Health care bill that help the average Joe the common worker, create competition in the Health care industry (Free Market) across the country and state lines.

    August 5, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  22. jp,michigan

    Last Wednesday, July 29th Rep. Blunt tried to push for an amendment which would make the President, Vice President and member of house and Senate would only be eligible to enroll in the public health insurance option being offered to American Citizens through the Health exchang. This was quickly tabled by the Democrats. They what to continue with the Cadillac of insurance as tax-payers we provide them and the rest of public get the Yugo plan. WHAT IS GOOD FOR THE MAJORITY SHOULD BE GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE FEW!

    August 5, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  23. Rosemary

    I support Health Care Reform 100%. The current bill does not go far enough. National Health Care is the only answer.

    August 5, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  24. tee

    Where are the repugs getting their information from........they say that 85% of americans do not want healthcare reform.

    August 5, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  25. Dan

    TORT REFORM – Keep the Lawyers out of the Doctor's Pocket.

    Tort reform which no one in the Gov't is takling about, will reduce the cost of health care and let your Doctor practive real medicne.

    Let's not blame the Insurance companies for trying to run a business.

    If you don't like the insurance co. price/benefits, change your Insurance company. You have to "Shop the market".

    In my State of NJ, we have guaranteed issue health insurance. Let the Federal Gov't Mandate the States that all AMERICANS will be accepted
    without preexisting conditions.

    When you turn 65 and are eligible for Medicare, you are guaranteed coverage with no preX.

    Tort reform & Mandate the States to cover you, This will reduce the cost & increase competion.

    August 5, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
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