Politics

Most in U.S. Want Healthcare Reform, but Vary on Urgency

by Frank Newport

Thirty percent favor new law, but not necessarily this year; a quarter oppose new law at any time

PRINCETON, NJ -- Seven in 10 Americans favor the passage of new healthcare reform legislation, but less than half (41%) say a new law needs to be passed this year.

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Results from a Gallup Poll conducted Thursday night, one day after President Obama's press conference at which he emphasized the importance of moving quickly on healthcare reform legislation, show that 41% of Americans would advise their representative in Congress to pass a new healthcare reform law by the end of this year; another 30% would say Congress should pass a new law, but not necessarily this year; and the remainder -- 24% -- don't think Congress should pass a new healthcare reform law at all.

The urgency of the effort to pass new healthcare reform legislation has become a significant focus of President Obama's full-court press on the issue. Obama has argued that without a short-term deadline for passing such a law, momentum would be lost and inertia would rule -- lowering the probability that such legislation would ever be passed.

The data show that about 4 out of 10 Americans generally agree with Obama -- that a new healthcare law needs to be passed this year. But that leaves the majority of Americans who do not agree, either because they believe a delay is acceptable, or because they don't believe such a law is needed at all.

There are strong partisan differences in response to this question.

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Sixty-three percent of Democrats are behind the effort to pass a new healthcare law this year, with most of the rest choosing the alternative of passing a new law, but not necessarily this year. Almost half of Republicans, on the other hand, favor not passing a new healthcare reform law at all; the slight majority of the rest favor passing a new law, but not necessarily this year, leaving 22% of Republicans favoring a new law to be passed this year.

The crucial bloc of independents -- at this point the largest of the three partisan groups -- are much more mixed in their views, as would be expected. A little more than a third say pass a new law this year; a third say pass a new law, but not necessarily this year; and about a fourth say don't pass a new law at all.

Implications

The good news for the Obama administration: 7 in 10 Americans would advise their representative in Congress to pass a new healthcare reform law -- one of President Obama's major domestic priorities. The not-so-good news for Obama is that less than half (41%) favor passing such a law this year, with 30% favoring a new law but saying it is not necessary to move that quickly. About a quarter of Americans, the majority of whom are Republicans, would advise their representative in Congress not to pass a new healthcare reform law at all.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,030 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted July 23, 2009, as part of Gallup Poll Daily tracking. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±x percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Polls conducted entirely in one day, such as this one, are subject to additional error or bias not found in polls conducted over several days.

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Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/121883/Most-U.S.-Want-Healthcare-Reform-Vary-Urgency.aspx
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