Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Healthcare Polling - Swing and "Blue Dog" Districts

A little caveat here: John Anzalone has been a friend of the family for fifteen years or so (predating, even, the start of my political career) and he has done polling for one of my past campaigns.

March 15, 2010
To: Interested Parties
Fr: John Anzalone / Matt Hogan
Re: Summary of Findings from Swing District Health Insurance Reform Poll

Anzalone Liszt Research recently conducted a poll of 2010 likely voters across 92 Frontline, Blue Dog, and Rural districts on behalf of AFSCME, CWA and NEA. The key findings from the poll included the following:

· Strong majorities of these voters want reform and want it this year. There is still strong support for reforming the healthcare system, as 59% of voters in these districts - which are slightly more conservative than the electorate overall - favor major reform or a total overhaul of the current system. They also want reform now, as over 60% believe that it is important to pass health insurance reform this year, including 64% of swing voters (those who do not side with either party in the generic ballot and who make up 28% of voters in these districts) and 93% of Democrats.

· Once voters learn about the plan, a majority supports it. As we've seen in earlier polling and focus groups, voters are largely unaware of any benefits of reform beyond expanding coverage for the uninsured. The vast majority of voters who already have coverage therefore don't see how reform will help them. After hearing about some of the benefits of the plan however, support for it among voters overall increases from 42% to 51%. Swing voters were particularly receptive to information about the plan, with their level of support rising from 35% to 50% after learning more about it.

· Ensuring coverage for pre-existing conditions and requiring members of Congress to have the same plan as tens of millions of Americans are the most compelling components of reform. These two components were seen as the best reasons to support health insurance reform, both when tested on their own and as messages. They are the most popular components of reform among voters overall, and also among key audiences, including seniors. Although these were the most popular components of the plan, fourteen others were also tested, and each was supported by at least 60% of both swing voters and voters overall.

· A majority of swing voters still say they need more information about the plan before taking a firm position on it. Despite all the debate over health insurance reform over the past year, 40% of likely voters in these districts - and 55% of swing voters - say that they need more information on the President's reform plan before they can take a firm position on it. Meanwhile, those voters who have made up their mind on the plan lean Republican by a 20-point margin.

· Swing voters are just as concerned about continued insurance company abuses as they are about any potentially negative consequence of reform. Over two-thirds of swing voters (67%) were very concerned that premiums would continue to rise in the absence of reform, and 62% were similarly worried about insurance companies continuing to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. These concerns were equal to or even greater than the level of fear over reform's impact on the deficit, taxes or government involvement in healthcare.

Anzalone Liszt Research conducted 1,003 live telephone interviews with likely 2010 voters in 92 Blue Dog/Frontline/Rural Caucus House Districts between February 26 and March 4, 2010. Respondents were selected at random, with interviews apportioned geographically based on past voter turnout. Expected margin of error for these results is ±3.1% with a 95% confidence level.


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