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Independent Voters Remain Worried about Health Care
Date:2/8/2008

New Survey by American College of Surgeons Shows Independents Holding Fast

on Health Care Concerns; Democrats and Republicans Cool Slightly

CHICAGO, Feb. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Concern about health care continues to hold strong among independent voters, even as the issue has ebbed somewhat for Democrats and Republicans since last fall, according to results of two national "On the Table" surveys taken by the American College of Surgeons (ACS).

The vast majority of those surveyed (92 percent) still regard health care as important for the government to address, but those labeling it "one of the most important" issues fell from 30 percent to 24 percent overall, according to surveys taken in early September and early January.

Self-identified independents, however, held steady in their concerns, with 23 percent calling health care one of the most important issues in January, versus 21 percent in September. In addition, the number of independents rating the health care system as poor or very poor rose, from 34 percent to 44 percent -- again moving against trends among Democrats and Republicans.

"Health care is a dominant concern among all voters," said Thomas R. Russell, MD, FACS, executive director of the American College of Surgeons. "But this survey highlights the importance of health care to the 'independent' voter. The candidates would be wise to pay attention to the trends emerging here if they want to gain traction among independents."

The ACS's national "On the Table" surveys included interviews with 1,003 adults in early September 2007 and again in early January of this year. Shifting opinions and contrasts emerged on several health care questions in the surveys, though it was clear many voters think the candidates need to do more on health care.

The decline in those rating health care "one of the most important" issues was sharper among Republicans (from 21 percent in September to 15 percent in January)
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SOURCE American College of Surgeons
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