Bi-weekly Public Opinion Roundup - Health Care and Capitalism

As expected, there are plenty of new public opinion polls on health care and health care reform.  Though some people may already be tired of the topic, it is more important now than ever that we understand where the public stands on health care, how the trends in opinion are changing, and why.  Indirectly related to issues of healthcare is a new public opinion poll on capitalism, twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Health Care: the Individual Mandate and a Public Option
The October Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll found that 66% of those surveyed report that they are in favor of requiring all Americans to have health insurance (provided there is financial help for those who need it).  A majority of those surveyed (57%) also expressed support for the creation of a government-administered public health insurance option that would compete with private insurers.  In addition, a majority expressed that “it is more important than ever to take on health care reform now” (55%).

Who will be better Off with Health Care Reform?

According to the above Kaiser poll, a majority asserted that the country as a whole would be better off if Congress passed health care reform (53%).  A plurality (41%) expressed that individually, they or their families would be better off if Congress passed health care reform, with 27% expressing that they would be worse off.

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Bi-weekly Public Opinion Roundup

For much of this decade, immigration has been an important topic on the public agenda. Nowhere is that more true than in California. The state is home to 9.9 million immigrants, its governor is an immigrant, and it is a border state on the front lines of the debate over immigration reform. State and local policies concerning immigrants are hotly debated across the state, and the raucous debate over an anti-immigrant initiative in 1996, is widely perceived to have influenced the electoral landscape in lasting ways.

Understanding the values and perspectives that Californians bring to this debate is critical. In general, Californians hold a favorable opinion of immigrants, believing that immigration is a benefit to the state. Most California adults believe undocumented immigrants should stay and work in the United States rather than be deported to their native countries.

At the same time, Californians are concerned about the impact of some aspects of immigration on their state. Most Californians attribute the majority of their population growth to immigration, while most voters also see the population growth projected for California as unsustainable, and ultimately having a negative impact on the state.

When it comes to resolving immigration-related problems, Californians were split on which presidential candidate would do a better job dealing with it in October 2008, although they voted for then Senator Barack Obama over Senator John McCain by a large margin on Election Day (Obama’s 61% to McCain’s 37%).

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Bi-weekly Public Opinion Roundup

Americans are still pessimistic about employment and the economy, according to several recent polls. A majority agree that young people will not achieve the same standard of living as the previous generation or that it is more likely that families will suffer "economic reversals" in the next 5 to 10 years. Support for the stimulus bill has dropped and opinion is now deadlocked on the bill, though some aspects, such as spending on infrastructure and public works, remain popular among a majority. A majority of Americans think that some of the recent federal measures should be lasting, while fewer Americans – although still a majority – feel that President Obama's policies will help in these tough economic times.

A nationwide poll conducted in October by Gallup, consisting of 1,013 telephone interviews with adults age 18 and older, found that a small share of Americans believe now is a good time to find a quality job (10%). This percentage has been wavering between 9% and 11% since February 2009, and has dropped dramatically since January 2008 (33%). Findings from an October nationwide Pew Research Center survey of 1,500 adults are consistent with this trend: 84% of Americans say that today good jobs were difficult to find, up from 73% in July 2008 acording to another Pew survey.

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Opinions are like...

As I watch more and more coverage from media outlets of interviews with "average Americans" giving "their opinions" I become less believing of the common political and media mantra of the intelligence of the average American. While there are many Americans who are politically, financially, and socially savvy, there is also a large number who are not. My question is, "Are all opinions of equal value?"

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Public Opinion Roundup: Abortion and Social Rifts

Support for Abortion Slips, Perceptions of Social Rifts Mixed

With the Autumnal Equinox recently behind us, the leaves are starting to fall and the days are finally cooling.  It would seem public opinion on certain hot issues has also started to cool, for better or for worse.  Below are findings from recent studies that show a decline in support for legal abortions although still a majority of Americans oppose increasing barriers to abortion access, and a relatively nonchalant attitude toward racial conflict.  On the flip side, support for making abortions illegal has gained in popularity, and public opinion is heated around perceived conflict between immigrants and the native-born.

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