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. southerncousin

    Any CNN poll (like any of those reported in the state run media) overstates support for Obama about 20% to 30%, otherwise they will be cut of from those cute pictures of the Obama kids by this thugocracy that is running the country.

    August 5, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  2. ge

    i guess people over 50 have no problem burning there savings and morgaging there houses for health care

    August 5, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  3. Marty, FL

    Polls also show the more people are educated on health-care reforms; the more they support it. This is no surprise when Americans are given the truth about the lies being told by right-wing "deathers" against seniors. The GOP should be ashamed of itself.

    Americans deserve honest representation on health-care reforms in order to pass a reasonable public option supported by the majority of Americans.

    August 5, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  4. carlos only smarter

    another poll??????

    August 5, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  5. xavier

    Senior citizens are more weary of Obama's plans because they are the audience that republicans are targeting with their lies about healthcare reform. Also, they are less likely to use the web to follow news, which debunks the garbage that is constantly being spread by the GOP slime machine. Killing old people, paying for abortions, rationing healthcare, these are all lie tactics being used by the GOP and insurance companies. It's funny how these people dont realize how quickly they can be dropped if they get as serious illness like cancer. My family had to sue to get my dad's insurance company to pay for his medical treatment when he was diagnosed with cancer.

    August 5, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  6. Lynne

    Polls, report cards (which will not be scientific), predictable political pundits spewing their talking points...and little actual news, investigative reporting about what the health care plan will mean nor about the Democratic Party's claims...that is what CNN has become.

    Democracy depends on dialogue and an open. objective press and when one side choses to shout down and try to silence refusing to let them exercise their freedom of speech the other side we are left with tyranny!

    August 5, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  7. Bill Ward

    This proposed government run health care plan is a joke. Our gov'mt can't run itself. It can't balance a budget, it can't fund social security which the people have already paid for -- and the gov'mt has already spent, it can't/won't oversee financial institutions, and it being in charge a system that decides who lives or dies is a scarey proposition. Vote NO!

    August 5, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. Jeffesonian

    Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence.

    August 5, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  9. Kenyan Wonder Kid

    Another state-controlled media spinning of the facts. The real statistics clearly show a MAJORITY of Americans are strongly against this monstrous healthcare reform, and these numbers are rapidly growing. Please report the real facts, not what the Obama administration tells you to spin.

    August 5, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. Santana from California

    What is wrong with people? I have health care, I pay dearly for it. The cost continue to grow, and I took a pay cut on top of it. For those who don't want Health care, you continue to want to pay more? I have seen the health care in Europe, and they do a good job, and you don't pay anymore then your nieghbor. I've worked for 25 years, and we don't deserve to pay more, my taxes are paid, and I want Universal Health Care, and I like Obama's plan, and I have read it, Have YOU? It makes sense, and allowing HMO's to steal your money for profit is sad!!! Wake up people....

    August 5, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  11. Simmy

    Younger Americans are flexible and not afraid of change....They understand that the GOP has launced another swiftboating surge to defeat healthcare again (attempt at deja vu/Clinton era) and have chosen to reject it....

    Older Americans tend to be 'set' in their ways/traditions, and more susceptible to propaganda being thrown out by Republicans.....They are more apt to believe that the government will try to kill them off, control their healthcare, etc.....They fall prey to old tactics, and will end up being hurt by the same Republicans they trusted to protect and fight for them......Such a sad distortion of reality.....

    August 5, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  12. donttreadonme

    We need healthcare reform but not a Government takeover of the system. A good first step would be to remove current restrictions that do not allow insurance companies to sell outside of their state. I also like the idea of private insurance and tax vouchers this would allow more people to pool their insurance into larger groups and would help lower costs and take the burden off of businesses.

    Lastly grants to improve IT capabilities and “light regulations” to control over charging and provide protection for consumers should really help.

    August 5, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  13. VIVEK

    america needs more manufacturing inside the country. there are lot of people who are willing to do those jobs.

    August 5, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  14. Sam Sixpack

    I'm not one bit split about it - the plan is a big lie designed to suck even more dollars out of commoners for the benefit of a rich, idol few.

    August 5, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  15. Waiting for 2010

    It is most popular with the young americans because they don't have a clue what they are voting for. All they think is free and government is a continuation of mommy and daddy taking care of them. Old people don't want it because they know it is an early death sentence where they will be denied care.

    August 5, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  16. LacrosseMom

    Again I say that there is a lot of LIES and misinformation out there. As well as GOP fear-mongering!

    Just yesterday on the Rick Sanchez blog, he had an article about Rep. Virginia Foxx, who is saying that "Section 1233 of House Resolution 3200" ......... "would kill off Senior Citizens!" When the TRUTH IS that HR 3200 actually offers HELP to Seniors in getting "their end of life issues resolved" such as: medical power of attorney, their LIVING WILL...... etc!

    When I read the article about Rep. Foxx, I was outraged by the constant LIES and FEAR MONGERING by the GOP!


    August 5, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  17. Kevin in Ohio

    Those younger generation folks who support this have a difficult time 1) thinking they will be in need of medical care and 2) envisioning what it will be like to be denied care or to be waitlisted or "counseled" when they are old.

    August 5, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  18. liberals must go

    they're somewhat misleading here because those that oppose THIS reform aren't against reform. heck even the insurance industry is FOR reform. They just don't want LIBERAL type reforms like Obama, peLIEsi and Reid want.

    2010 can't come fast enough to sweep most of these jokers out of office.

    August 5, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  19. chubby

    Hockey puck. Every pole except the one CNN is reporting on have the majority of the American people against obummers government run health care program.

    August 5, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  20. Rich

    People need to start talking about their experiences with insurance companies. They need to talk about how the insurance companies have denied their claims based on pre-existing conditions. They need to talk about how they are going bankrupt because they got sick. I also find it interesting how people are easily scared by rich people. Why do people think rich people and insurance companies are fighting so hard to stop health care reform. It is because of the size of profits they are making from health insurance. If you do not believe me than look up the profits from health insurance providers. Educate yourself! Don't believe all the scare tactics. I used to work at an insurance company and trust me they have people dedicaded to looking through medical records to deny claims based on pre-existing conditions. If people would like information about what everything means in their health policy they can call a health insurance advocate. I encourage people to call and advocate and then tell me if you are one illness away from bankrupcy.

    August 5, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  21. liberals must go

    a Quinnipiac poll a month ago showed that Americans favored President Obama's approach as compared to Republicans by a margin of 20%. Now, that's down to 10%. Any guess what it'll get ot by the time the recess is over?

    August 5, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  22. WESPAC

    CNN, why don't you present right and left talking points. Instead, what I see from the cast is a mish mosh of wishy washy. A lot of questioning comes straight from conservative critics of our President. What about talking about how this will help the country. How about askin any GOP congressman why they haven't done anything about reform and still plan on doing nothing?
    When a nation needs to mobilize for a cause, when does money come into play. It didn't for the 2 wars and Bush tax cuts. Why now?
    CNN, if you don't stand for something, you will fall for everything.

    August 5, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  23. Doug Neumann

    I do not want any healthcare bill paid for out of tax dollars that also includes illegal immigrants. Why don't we just open the floodgates and invite the rest of the world to come here and live free of charge, as we pay for everything? Sure, we're all making SO much that we can all afford it! Are the Democrats that out of touch with just how bad this economy is?

    August 5, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  24. katiec

    Unfortunately, some believe all the lies, distortions, filth put out by
    the GOP and medical related lobbyists groups.
    I have never seen a political party stoop to the level the republicans have, and, am flabbergasted they have the ignorance to brag about it.
    Americans, we must let these dishonorable, unAmerican, distrustful
    so called leaders know how much we disturbed with their gutter
    actions. Their swiftboating did not work before and we must not let
    it now. They are out to destroy us and our country,

    August 5, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
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