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Economy Continues to Trouble Americans More than Health Care

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A majority of Americans report that the economy and personal finances are the most important problems their families face, with health-care-related issues a distant second, according to a Franklin & Marshall College Poll released Feb. 12.

The poll finds that three in four of Americans (75 percent) who have health insurance rate their coverage as either “very good” or “good.” Meanwhile, three in four Americans (75 percent) believe that the country’s health-care system is in need of reform. A majority of citizens (59 percent) believe the health-reform bills being considered by Congress will make major changes to the country’s health-care system.

More registered Americans believe that President Barack Obama has better ideas for reforming health care (37 percent) than do Republicans in Congress (33 percent). In the September 2009 Franklin & Marshall College Poll, 47 percent of registered respondents believed the president had better ideas for health-care reform, while 21 percent felt Republicans did.

In other findings:

  • More than half (57 percent) of registered Americans approve of the way Obama is handling the situation in Afghanistan, and half (52 percent) also approve of the way he is handling national security issues. Fewer registered respondents (45 percent) approve of the way the president is dealing with the country’s economic problems.
  • More Americans now say they would vote for the Republican candidate (39 percent) rather than the Democratic candidate (35 percent) if the midterm House elections were held today. In September 2009, the Democrats led the Republicans, 43 percent to 30 percent, on this question.
  • Only one in three (35 percent) citizens believes the United States is currently headed in the right direction.
  • More than one in three (37 percent) Americans say the current health-care system meets their needs “very well,” and another two in five (41 percent) say it meets their needs “pretty well,” leaving about one in five (21 percent) who feel the system is not serving their personal needs. These figures remain largely unchanged since September 2009.

The interviews were conducted Feb. 2-8 at the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College and were overseen by Director G. Terry Madonna, Head Methodologist Berwood Yost and Project Manager Jennifer Harding. The data represent the responses of 920 adults in the United States—767 of them registered to vote. The sample error is plus or minus 3.2 percentage points for adults and plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for registered adults.

This is the second national Franklin & Marshall College Poll to focus on health-care policy, an area of academic strength for the College. Contributors to the poll included Senior Associate Dean of the Faculty, Vice Provost for Planning and Institutional Research and Professor of Economics Alan Caniglia; Professor of Economics Sean Flaherty; and The Honorable and Mrs. John C. Kunkel Professor of Government Joseph Karlesky.

For complete results, go to: www.fandm.edu/fandmpoll