News & Politics

Support Growing Among Democratic Primary Voters for 'Medicare for All' Instead of Improving Obamacare

(AP Photo/J. David Ake)

A new Morning Consult/Politico poll shows support for candidates who favor “Medicare for All” over trying to “fix” Obamacare has grown since the beginning of the year.

Morning Consult/Politico polls taken Jan. 25-27 and Aug. 23-25 asked voters if — and in what direction — a candidate’s support for implementing a Medicare for All system over preserving and improving the ACA would affect their likelihood of backing that candidate.

Among Democrats, net support (the share of those who said that attitude would make them more likely to back a candidate minus the share who said they would be less likely) grew from 35 points in January to 52 points in the latest poll, which surveyed 1,987 registered voters, including 768 Democratic voters. The overall poll had a margin of error of 2 percentage points, while the subsample has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

While it is challenging to draw direct links between a candidate’s position in one particular policy area and their subsequent performance in the polls, affinity toward Medicare for All by three of the four current frontrunners (albeit to varying degrees) is worth noting when taken alongside the survey results, and revealing of the leftward shift within the Democratic Party during this primary.

This is significant for several reasons. Joe Biden is the only major candidate who does not support Medicare for All, and yet he is comfortably ahead of his nearest rivals Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Look for both candidates to hammer Biden in the next debate on healthcare.

Healthcare is not the only issue in the campaign, of course, and Biden has tried to broaden his message beyond liberal shibboleths like single-payer health insurance to encompass the wider goal of getting rid of Donald Trump. So far, it’s working.
But that doesn’t mean that the Party radicals won’t hold Biden’s feet to the fire on Medicare for All when the time comes:

“If it is Biden, or somebody who is not as strong on Medicare for All,” Kemp said, “there’s going to continue to be strong pressure to bring Biden in line with the Democratic base, and continue pushing legislators and others around the country to support Medicare for All.”

Support for Medicare for All fades away when someone mentions the $30 trillion price tag. But as we’ve seen so far, the question is easily dodged and soon forgotten. The Democratic Party has committed itself to passing some kind of national, single-payer health insurance plan if they win the presidency and the Senate.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.