As the December New York Times poll revealed, only 25 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters agreed with the Sanders position that “the U.S. should adopt a national health care plan in which all Americans get their insurance from a single government plan,” while 58 percent agreed that “the U.S. should offer government-run insurance to anyone who wants it, but people should be able to keep their private insurance if they prefer it.” (A further 15 percent indicated opposition to any public plan.) Importantly, this is a poll taken after a series of Democratic presidential debates in which Sanders and Warren hotly debated their moderate rivals over these exact positions.
Polling from early 2019 of the general electorate also showed opposition to junking all private insurance. In April 2019, Kaiser Family Foundation found that 63 percent of Americans support “Medicare for All,” but only 49 percent support a “single-payer health insurance system.” And when “Medicare for All” is defined as requiring the elimination of private health insurance, support collapsed to 37 percent. The Sanders campaign not only failed to move these numbers, it succumbed to them.