New Jerseyans Skeptical of Health Care Reform

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STATE—According to the most recent poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind™, the percentage of New Jersey voters who say the country is on the right track declined to 35% from 41% just before the November election.

Likewise, the president’s approval numbers dipped below 50% for the first time, to 48%, down from 52% in October.  The president’s approval is lowest among those age 60 and over (38%) and highest with those under age 30 (60%).  Those who have entitlement insurance such as Medicare, Medicaid, or veterans benefits give the president lower approval marks (41%) than those who have employer-provided and private health insurance (50%).

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Republicans are convinced that they’ll be worse off with the health care reforms that President Obama is currently proposing and Democrats and independents have a lot of doubt.  Three of four (77%) Republicans say they’ll be worse off with the proposed reforms, while only 9% say they’ll be better off.  A majority (55%) of independents say they’ll be worse off, and more than a third (36%) say they’re not sure. While a majority of Democrats (56%) say they’ll be better off with health care reform, and few Democrats (15%) say they’ll be worse off, 30% aren’t sure.

“In fact, at this point, neither the president nor congressional leaders have convinced the public that the bill they are working on is for the better,” said Woolley.

The trust of Democrats and mistrust of Republicans is evidenced in the broader question about how health care reform will affect the whole country: seven in ten Democrats (70%) say the country will be better off, while nearly eight in ten Republicans (78%) say the country will be worse off.  Those who already have government provided health insurance are just as likely as those who have employer provided insurance to say they and the country will be worse off with reform.

Overall, just a third of New Jersey voters (34%) say they’d advise their member of Congress to vote for the bill, while 44% say they’d advise against it and 22% just aren’t sure.  A majority of Democrats (61%) say they’d advise their member of Congress to vote for the bill. A majority of Republicans say they’d advise their member of Congress to vote against it.  A majority of independents (56%) also say they’d advise their member to vote against it.

And in a generic vote for a member of Congress, Republicans actually run even or ahead of Democrats by 46% to 44%.

“Health care legislation has become the defining partisan issue of our age,” said Woolley. “Expect that its merits or demerits will not be debated fairly by party leaders or pundits steeped a perpetual campaign.”

The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of 801 registered voters statewide was conducted by telephone from Jan. 4, 2010, through Jan. 10, 2010, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.


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