9/24/2009

More Americans Troubled by Economy than Health Care

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A majority of Americans report that the economy and personal finances (50%) are the most important problems their families face, with health-care-related issues a distant second (19%), according to the latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll.

For both economic and health-care issues, a majority of adults believe the problems faced by their families can be solved with the help of the government (68% of those with health-care concerns and 57% of those with financial concerns). About one in three (36%) believe the U.S. health-care system is above average compared to systems in other industrialized nations, while similar proportions feel it is average (29%) or below average (30%).

This is the first Franklin & Marshall College Poll to focus on health-care policy, an area of academic strength for the College. Designed and directed by the Floyd Institute's Terry Madonna and Berwood Yost, the poll included contributions from Alan Caniglia, senior associate dean of the faculty and vice provost for planning and institutional research and professor of economics; Sean Flaherty, professor of economics; and The Honorable and Mrs. John C. Kunkel Professor of Government Joseph Karlesky.

Produced in partnership with Hearst Television, the poll covered perceptions of government and military operations in Afghanistan in addition to health-care reform.

In other findings:

  • A slim majority (51%) of registered Americans believe President Obama is doing an "excellent" or "good" job, while nearly as many (47%) believe he is doing an "only fair" or "poor" job.
  • When asked how the U.S. health-care system compares to that of other industrialized nations, Americans are divided; 36 percent say the U.S. health-care system is "above average," 29 percent say it is "average" and 30 percent say it is "below average." The cost of health care (18%) and the availability of health insurance coverage (19%) were significant problems for about one in five adults during the past year.
  • While more than three in four (79%) Americans favor health-care reform, a nearly identical number (78%) say the current system is meeting their needs "very well" or "pretty well," leaving only 21 percent who feel the current system is not meeting their needs.
  • Half (51%) of registered Americans approve of the way the president is handling the situation in Afghanistan, while 29 percent disapprove.

The results are based on interviews conducted Sept. 15-21 with 1,046 adults in the United States—900 of them registered to vote. The sample error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for adults and plus or minus 3.3 percentage points for registered adults.

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

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