Americans Divided on Health Care Reform
19 October 2009
Posted in Press Releases
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 20, 2009 (Austin, Texas)—As health care reform moves toward full consideration by Congress, Americans remain divided on whether the government will go too far or not far enough on the issue, according to the latest quarterly Public Trust Monitor, conducted by Public Strategies, Inc., in conjunction with POLITICO.
52% of Americans believe Congress “will go too far in increasing the government’s role in health care,” while 48% are concerned that Congress “will pass legislation that does not go far enough in addressing [our] health care challenges.”
Reinforcing the divide over the role of government, the quarterly survey found that 1 in 5 respondents said that health care reform or government spending would be most important to determining their vote in the Congressional elections. Half of Americans also say they would consider voting against their member of Congress based on his or her support for or opposition to health care legislation.
“Health care is a highly personal issue and the division of opinions about the direction the government should take is very real,” said Jeff Eller, vice chairman of Public Strategies, Inc.
Despite divisions about the role of government, the American public continues to trust government more than corporations. But, trust in corporations continues to recover — support for increased regulation of corporations continues to decline (45%), and a majority of Americans (55%) think business is headed in the right direction. In addition, 86% of Americans would like to see corporations involved in solving the problems facing our country.
In addition, Americans continue to take a very dim view of the economy. The overwhelming majority of people (81%) label the national economy as weak, and 70% describe the job market in their area the same way. While a plurality —44% — believes that the economic stimulus package is helping the economy, only 20% think it will help them personally.
“The trend in our surveys show enthusiasm for the new administration has tapered off, and voters are now waiting to see whether the stimulus package and President Obama’s policies will have an impact on the economy,” said Dan Bartlett, president and CEO of Public Strategies, Inc.
Shift in Public Trust Over Time
The inaugural Public Trust Monitor, conducted in December 2008, found that a majority of the voting public had lost confidence both in government and business during the preceding year. Voters also believed that American business was on the wrong track, that federal regulation of business should be increased, and that the federal government would go too far in providing assistance to corporations.
The second survey, conducted in March, found that trust in government had increased (fueled primarily by Democrats), while trust in corporations remained unchanged. Corporations did see an uptick with those saying business is on the right track increasing from 28% in December up to 40% in March.
Our third poll, conducted in July, found that an erosion of trust had ended President Obama’s honeymoon and reversed the increased trust in government we saw in our Q2 survey. We also found that corporations had made modest gains in trust, although trust in government still remained higher.
The Public Trust Monitor, conducted on a quarterly basis by Public Strategies, Inc., in conjunction with POLITICO, provides an ongoing, quantitative measure of the voting public’s trust in government and business.
Survey Methodology: Public Strategies, Inc. conducted a nationwide online survey of 1,000 registered voters October 9–13. The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
About Public Strategies, Inc.
Public Strategies, Inc. is a business advisory firm that serves a diverse clientele including some of the world’s largest and best-known corporations, nonprofit organizations, associations and professional firms. Public Strategies helps forward-thinking organizations assess public opinion and risk, and develops strategies for managing corporate reputation and uncertainty. Much of its practice involves managing high-stakes campaigns for corporate clients, anticipating and responding to crises. http://www.pstrategies.com
Public Strategies was purchased by WPP in August of 2006. WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY) is one of the world's leading communications services groups, providing national, multinational and global clients with advertising; media investment management; information, insight & consultancy; public relations & public affairs; branding & identity, healthcare and specialist communications.
POLITICO is a Washington-based political journalism organization that distributes its content via the Internet, newspaper, television and radio. Its coverage includes Congress, the White House, Washington lobbying and campaigns. POLITICO and POLITICO.com launched in January 2007 with the mission of covering politics with enterprise, style and impact. POLITICO is a publication of Capitol News Company LLC.