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Most Americans Continue to Support Moving Ahead With Health Care Reform Now Despite Town Hall Fights and Ad Campaigns
Date:8/19/2009

o have impacted some key tracking poll indicators over the last month. One key indicator in the debate is the percentage of Americans who think that they or their families would be better off if the president and Congress enacted major health reform legislation. The largest group (36%) continues to say their family will be better off if health reform passes -- a proportion that has held relatively steady all year. However, the share who believes their family will be worse off has jumped 10 percentage points since July and now stands at 31 percent.

Similarly, while a larger proportion of Americans continues to believe the country as a whole would be better off if Congress passed health care reform than think it would be harmed (45% vs. 34%), the gap between those viewpoints has shrunk over the course of the summer. The share of Americans who see negative consequences for the country has climbed and the share anticipating benefits has fallen. Just one month ago, for instance, 51 percent thought the country would be better off if the president and Congress pass health reform, while 23 percent thought it would be worse off.

The uptick in fears of negative outcomes is driven in large part by a big jump in concerns among Republicans. This month, 61 percent of Republicans say they would be personally worse off if health reform passes, up 22 percentage points from July. Similarly, 68 percent of Republicans said the country would be worse off if reform passes, up 25 percentage points from July.

In addition, for the first time this year, more independents say they personally will be worse off rather than better off if health reform passes (36% vs. 30%). And independents now are roughly divided on whether or not health care reform will benefit the country, in contrast to previous months where optimists outnumbered pessimists in this group. Democrats have remained fairly steady in their perception of how hea
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SOURCE Henry J. Kaiser Foundation
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