Poll: Voters want Democrats to focus on health care if they win in 2020

Written on Mar 08, 2018

Significant numbers of American voters, and Democrats specifically, want the Democratic Party to prioritize health care if they retake the White House and Congress in 2021.

Out of all likely voters, 31% said they would want Democrats to focus on health care. Guns were the second most cited issue, at 15%, followed by immigration (14%), deficit reduction (11%), and climate change (only 6%).

Looking just at self-identified Democrats, the numbers are strikingly similar, with answers more concentrated around health care and guns.

The poll by Civis Analytics reached 921 likely voters in late February.

The Democratic establishment in Washington, DC, has spent a tremendous amount of energy trying to formulate a new approach to health care reform, due in no small part to the Affordable Care Act’s perceived failings: high premiums, flagging individual insurance markets, a lack of coverage for poor Americans in red states that decline to expand Medicaid. Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) single-payer, Medicare-for-all bill counts potential 2020 contenders Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Cory Booker as co-sponsors, and the Center for American Progress, a center-left think tank with close ties to the Democratic Party, has proposed an all-but-single-payer plan that would radically expand Medicare-style coverage.

While some Republicans chose health care, as a whole, self-described Republicans were likelier to pick immigration (26%) and deficit reduction (19%) as important issues to address than they were health care (18%). Generally speaking, the more conservative the likely voter surveyed (regardless of party), the likelier they were to focus on immigration and deficit reduction, and the more liberal they got, the likelier they were to choose health care (and, secondarily, guns and climate change).

Among very liberal respondents, as many (17%) want to tackle climate change as guns, but both lag far behind health care. Only 6 and 8% of very and somewhat liberal respondents, respectively, want to focus on immigration, in a sign that there could be less grassroots interest in a pro-immigrant reform bill than in a conservative hardline bill on the issue.

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