Poll: Economy-Not Health Law-Topped Voters’ Concerns

Health care ranked fourth among factors that influenced how people voted last week, according to the monthly Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll that was released Tuesday. (KHN is a program of the foundation).

For the question of why people voted the way they did, respondents did not have a set choice of answers – they could explain in their own words what influenced their votes.

Economy/jobs was the leading item, mentioned by 29 percent of voters as one of the top two factors influencing their choice. Political party affiliation and the candidates’ attributes also ranked ahead of health care, according to the telephone poll of 1,502 adults conducted Nov. 3-6.  About two-thirds of them said they voted.

Seventeen percent of voters mentioned health care among their top two factors. Republicans were more likely than Democrats to mention health care as a factor for their vote-21 percent vs. 13 percent for Democrats.

Overall support for the health care law this month remained at 42 percent-unchanged since October, the survey found.

After being bombarded by campaign advertisements that mentioned the health care law, the share of voters who said they were “confused” about the issue rose, from 47 percent in October to 52 percent in November. The percent of respondents who said they were “angry” about the new law rose from 28 percent in October to 32 percent.

The percentage who said their family would be better off under health reform fell to 25 percent last month-its lowest level since February 2009.

About one in four respondents said they wanted the entire law repealed. Among voters, 56 percent percent wanted either all or part of the law repealed.

Views on the law “remain strongly partisan,” according to the foundation. Among Republican voters, 54 percent wanted a full repeal compared to 7 percent of Democrats who voted.

The foundation noted that “among those who support repeal of all or parts of the law, a majority want to keep key provisions tested in the poll, except the individual mandate and the Medicare payroll tax increase.”

The margin of sampling error for the overall poll was plus or minus percentage points. For results based on other subgroups, the margin of sampling error may be higher.

This is one of KHN’s “Short Takes” – brief items in the news. For the latest from KHN, check out our News Section.