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. jfs Memhis, Tn

    This 60 year old Moderate will happily support any health care reform or option package. Our people need to have a program that guarantees their welfare. Just as it states in the constitution. How silly , selfish and misinformed have we Americans become. Please look within and find the soul that the lord has given us as Americans. We are not animals or wall street snakes...we are a people that will need to take of each more now than anytime in history . We have to turn this nonsense around and if anything in this new Global Economy take care of our people first.

    August 5, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  2. Abel

    We do understand the position of the health reform bills opponents, which depicts chronic capitalism which allows the previlaged few to flourish while the majority suffer i wish Obama good luck no matter how he might be unpopular with this decision Bush war was worse than this

    August 5, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  3. Priscilla

    President Obama is doing an excellent job on healthcare reform. I am surprised that any American who doesn't have healthcare would fight against it. The only Americans who treat this subject with disdain are the rich who already have excellent healthcare. Americans, wake up and get a grip! President Obama is trying to help us! Don't believe the lies of Republicans who are waiting on President Obama to fall. He is for Americans!!! He works for Us and on our behalf! QUIT FIGHTING HIM!!!

    August 5, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  4. Expat American

    Ludwig, my schnauzer caught a cold while chasing squirrels in the rain at our favorite park.
    Last night he sneezed.
    And guess what happened?
    Out fell a poll.
    That was some sneeze.

    August 5, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  5. Vicky from Milwaukee

    Looks like that so called greatest generation is sticking it to the rest of us once again. As long as they get what they want they don't care about what's left for the rest of the country. I'm sick to death of boomers being blamed for everything. How about we stand up to these golden oldies and say no you can't have triple bi-pass when you're 85 years old on the public dime.

    August 5, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  6. Former Repub

    Holland appears to have lost sight of the 47 million Americans who DON'T HAVE healthcare coverage. Why does Holland think a majority of Americans are so self-absorbed that they only care about themselves?

    I have private insurance, so no, I don't expect that healthcare reform will have a huge impact on my own situation. But this does not stop me from supporting the needs of others who don't have adequate coverage, or any coverage at all.

    This conversation needs to shift from 'what are you doing for me' to 'what must be done to help others'?

    August 5, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  7. Laura

    The article states that opponents seem to feel more intensely about it than the supporters. That says a lot! Opponents know and understand the real implications of what is being proposed! The supporters who do not feel the same intensity, are obviously uninformed! Or those who really do not care what happens in this Country!

    August 5, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  8. Dallas

    This is according to CNN's polls – check out the polls that are more evenly recorded between Democrats and Republicans. You will find this is untrue.

    August 5, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  9. bam

    The reason for the generational divide is because older Americans are happy with their Medicare coverage. Note that this is a government program.

    August 5, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  10. Todd M

    While I consider myself well read about a lot of political issues, I really have no idea what is contained in this healthcare overhaul bll. I only hear a lot of venom being spewed from both sides. Can some news organization please summarize the bill(s) and let us read and decide for ourselves?
    There is nothing I hate more than some PAC or other group telling me what I should and shouldn't think. Also, I hate it when someone tries to scare me by telling me the gov't is going to kill me when I get too old. There is anything more UN-American than lying and preying on the fears of people.

    August 5, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  11. RR

    how can anyone make up his mind with such a complete lack of details coming from the President.

    August 5, 2009 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  12. bob

    CNN is moving more and more in the direction of FOX News. Stop with the misleading headlines. On your ticker this morning you said the %50 of Americans want Health Care Reform. That is blatantly incorrect. %72 of Americans want Health Care Reform. If %50 of Americans approve of how Obama is handling it, that's fine. But don't mislead people by stating that only %50 want Health Care Reform.

    Your network is going downhill fast. Glad you want to appeal to the lunatic fringe "base" of the republican party. Hope that %20 will suffice. The rest of us are moving to MSNBC.

    August 5, 2009 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  13. Anonymous

    Apparently 45 percent constitutes a clear majority in the minds of the GOP demagogues. Whether they are uninformed or just mendacious, these are not the people we need to take our country forward.

    August 5, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  14. NJ

    I got it (hear sarcasm).

    All you old people on Medicare want to keep your socialized medicine, while prohibiting it for the rest of us. Typical typical selfish, foolish, right-wing hypocrites !!

    August 5, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  15. Jehoy B

    If Americans still think republicans are capable of making good decisions – after 8 years of proof that they republicans are both stupid and incompetent – well, Americans deserve to NEVER HAVE HEALTHCARE REFORM.

    The US is the only industrialized country ran by insurance execs!!

    And how can you oppose something that hasn't even been finalized? They are still in negotiations!!!

    August 5, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  16. Alpha and Omega - The Great Physician Against Republicans

    Another lie by the media. Americans are not split over President Obama's health care plan. It's more like 300 million Americans FOR the PLAN and several dozen scattered Rush Limbaugh fanatics running around like the three stooges being chased by the Keystone Cops trying to bring down the smartest President America ever had. Unlike Jarge DUH-bya Bahoosh the world's biggest idiot make believe small p president to ever wreck a nation nearly single handedly. Obama-Biden in 2012!!! Viva La Revolucion!

    August 5, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  17. Mitch

    The majority of those angry old folks are set in their ways, fear change the most and have absolutely no clue about this issue. When you find seniors who refuse to allow government takeover of know they're bound for Sleep Acres Retirement Home.

    The GOP fan the flames of mistrust and deceit then shrug their shoulders and claim innocence. Granted it may also reinforce the fact the GOP have no clue on what to do on any issue.

    August 5, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  18. Randolph Carter

    This country will be a better place once the boomers die off. Have a nice day!

    August 5, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  19. pat c

    president obama needs to spell it out in laymens terms for the seniors that are not internet savey, explaining in simple terms that the bill will only improve their wellbeing. the republicans have preached such gloom an doom without even reading the bill that people are now frieghtened because they don't know the truth.

    August 5, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  20. Matt Bickford

    Sad to say that the status quo has won... with such division anything meaningful will never be put into law. We should really thank the special interests and their lobbyists for the fine job they did for America. Why can't we move beyond profit and look to a common good?

    August 5, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  21. Get Ready for It...It's Coming

    Those over 50 are the good voters. Candidates know what that means.

    August 5, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  22. In her first policies response, Sarah palin flip-floped her position on "cap and trade" during the campaign and now.

    Insurance Companies and lobbists have enough money to corrupt any pollster out there.

    August 5, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  23. New Age Democrat

    I don't know a single person who is for Obama's plan. I think we're all on board with the idea of affordable health care, but the two seem to completely different topics.

    August 5, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  24. T KS

    You know 50% support it, but the other 50% is not so clear cut. I think they are split again. Probably half are like these crazies at the town halls that just don't want any progress/change. The other half (and this is important) is people who think this health bill is not going to do enough. This poll is so deceiving. The question needs to be asked a different way as to not group together such very different groups. It suggests far more support for the opposition then actually exists.

    August 5, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  25. in the middle

    Affordable health care is needed. I was a small business owner for 13 years and I can tell you that healthcare coverage was a great concern. My family coverage was $900 a month and if I want to include my employees I had to pay out of pocket each month $5500. I still had the out of pocket expense of $1500 before my coverage kick in to only cover 80% of the cost and I was responsible for the other 20%. Yes I had insurance, but the bottom line, it was expensive. If a government public option was available, it would have saved a large cost to my bottom line. I don't know about many of you and your situation, but a universal healthcare will be wonderful for the small business man or woman. I don't think it is a valid argument to say the only problem with universal health care that it would drive the cost of insurance down.

    August 5, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
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