AP-GfK Poll: Soft support for Sanders’ single-payer plan

posted at 3:01 pm on February 25, 2016 by John Sexton

If you found the poll published earlier this week showing Democratic voters’ love for socialism (including support to nationalize major industries) worrisome, an AP-GfK poll published Thursday may give you fresh hope for the Republic.

AP asked respondents how they felt about replacing the health care system with Bernie Sanders’ ‘Medicare for All’ plan. At first glance, 39% of respondents said they would support this change and just 33% opposed it. That’s a clear win for Sanders. However, when AP asked some follow up questions it found support for the idea crumbled.

Asked if they’d support Sanders’ plan if it meant their own taxes would go up, the numbers invert, 28% support and 39% opposition. Respondents were also asked if they’d support the plan if it meant drugs and new treatments took longer to get to market. In that scenario, support for the plan dropped to 14% and opposition went up to 51 percent. Asked how they would feel about longer wait times under Sanders’ plan, 47% said they would oppose it and just 18% said they would support it anyway.

The AP did not ask respondents how they would feel about the plan if all of these happened at once, i.e. wait times increased, drugs were delayed and taxes went up. That combination would probably drive support into single digits. So the bad news here is that socialist schemes still sound good to a lot of people when they aren’t thinking about the consequences. The good news is that, with just a little prompting about real world outcomes, most American’s common sense returns.

The poll also contains some bad news for President Obama. Support for his reforms of the health care system have dropped again to 26% (compared to 30% last summer) and opposition has climbed to 42 percent. Remember when Democrats used to assure people that five years on everyone would love Obamcare? That doesn’t seem to have happened yet.

Asked what they believe will happen to Obamacare if a Republican wins the White House this year, 42% of respondents say it would be repealed and 29% say it would stay but with major changes. All of which suggests the public is 1) not overly fond of Obamacare and 2) expecting significant change if Republicans win in November. Note: The poll doesn’t say all those respondents are happy about the prospect of more disruption, no doubt some of them are Democrats who see it as a worst case scenario. Nevertheless, it won’t come as a surprise.


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