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Sustained & Robust Support for Single Payer in California

Lake Research Partners
Polling on California Recall and Medicare for All
May 3, 2021

A new poll shows that likely voters in California strongly support  a state Medicare for All healthcare system, and that Governor Newsom seeking permission from the Biden Administration to fund the new system with federal dollars would strengthen his support in the upcoming recall election and among his potential supporters in the regularly scheduled re-election next year.
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Overall, likely voters in California support a state Medicare for All system by a +26-point margin,  with 60% of voters supporting it and 34% (comprised largely of Republicans) opposing it. 

Among  “base” voters (those voting strongly or not-so-strongly “No” on the recall), 86% support Medicare for All (a +76-point margin of support). Core constituencies important to Governor Newsom’s recall effort also support Medicare for All at high margins, including registered Democrats (+73), women (+33), voters under 50 (+42), Latinos (+43), and AAPI voters (+48). Support for Medicare for All remains strong (52% to 34%) even when a comparative message is tested attacking Medicare for All, with the new system maintaining extremely high support (75%) among those who would vote “No” on the  recall, and strong majority support (62%) among swing voters. 

How the question was asked:

Supporters say Medicare for All will guarantee every Californian quality care with no premiums, co-pays, or deductibles, while ending the extreme health care inequities exposed by COVID-19. It would lower costs by eliminating insurance company profits and waste while reining in excessive drug and hospital prices. The state would expand care with existing funds plus more equitable taxes on large businesses and the wealthy, while we would have free choice of doctors, pharmacies, and hospitals, and would pay less for it.

Opponents say Medicare for All will require 350 billion dollars a year more in taxes, nearly tripling the state budget and making it impossible to fund priorities like better schools, ending homelessness, fighting climate change, managing drought and wildfires, and improving transportation. They say that under a one-size-fits-all health care, consumers lose choices and bureaucrats ration care. They say we should improve our current system which already covers 93 percent of Californians, not adopt a costly system of government-run medicine.

Comment by Jim Kahn

This remarkable poll was conducted for political purposes, and not widely publicized. But it is indeed worthy of note, and cause for optimism. It was conducted by Lake Research Partners, a highly respected firm known recently for work with the Biden campaign. Their polling is sophisticated and reliable.

The key finding is that 60% of California voters favor single payer — still 52% after hearing the pro and con arguments. This balanced presentation is essential for understanding the robustness of support. 

Among voters leaning “no” on the Gov. Newsom recall ballot (mainly, Democrats), support is a sky-high 86%. 6 out of 7 voters. And voting tendency for Newsom increases if he pursues single payer.

The voters are speaking. Are the politicians listening?

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