A majority of California voters continue to support the federal health reform law enacted last year according to the latest Field Poll, and they strongly believe the reforms will successfully be put in place.
The Field Poll showed 52 percent of 1,194 registered voters polled in California between Feb. 8 and Feb. 24 supporting the health reforms and 37 percent opposing them. The remaining 11 percent had no opinion.
The poll mirrors results of a similar statewide survey last year, shortly after the federal reforms were enacted, but puts California at odds with national polls which showed voters in other states closely divided on the issue.
A Kaiser Family Foundation national survey in March determined 42 percent of the population favors the new health law and 46 percent opposes it. A Gallup Poll the same month found a 46 percent favorable rating and 44 percent opposed.
California voters followed the “highly partisan” national pattern, according to the Field Poll, “with Democrats strongly supportive and Republicans strongly opposed.” But Democrats far outnumber Republicans in California, contributing to the higher percentage of support in the state.
However, independents in California are far more likely to support the reforms than independents nationally, said Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo. Voters who decline to declare a party affiliation — and who end up being swing voters on many partisan issues — back the law 48 percent to 33 percent, according to the poll
Finally, DiCamillo said in the poll summary, “there is strong support for the law among the state’s ethnic voters, who comprise more than a third of the electorate here, a larger share than is found nationally.”
The poll, conducted with a grant from the California Wellness Foundation has an error margin of plus or minus 2.9 percent.
The poll also reported:
- Six in ten (60 percent) think the state will be successful in its efforts to carry out the law.
- Nearly three in four insured Californians (72 percent) said having a choice of more than one health insurance plan is very important. But less than half (46 percent) say they are very satisfied with the choices they have now.
- One in seven voters (14 percent) say they or their families have already benefited from the law and another 20 percent expect to be better off once the law is fully implemented. These voters overwhelmingly back the law, according to the poll results.
- Another 40 percent of voters feel the law will have no effect on their own situation, but a majority of these voters back the law.
- There is strong opposition to the law among the approximately 25 percent of voters who expect the law to have a negative impact on them or their families.
- Voters said groups most likely to benefit from the health care law include: low-income residents; the uninsured; children and young adults.
- Voters said doctors, insurance companies and small businesses will be worse off under the law.
— TRACY WOOD