Slim majority of Californians favor health care reform

SAN FRANCISCO
September 25, 2013 9:00pm
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•  Divided along party lines on health care reform

•  “Overwhelming support for a path to citizenship as part of a federal immigration reform package”


As House Republicans in Washington press a campaign to defund the Affordable Care Act, a slim majority of Californians (53 percent) support the changes to the health care system enacted by President Barack Obama and Congress, according to a statewide survey released Wednesday evening by the non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California, with funding from the James Irvine Foundation.

Support has been around 50 percent since September 2009, about six months before the law's passage, previous PPIC surveys have found

In this latest survey, slightly more than half of those who have insurance (52 percent) and those who do not (56 percent) support the law.

Those with government-based insurance, such as Medicare or Medi-Cal, are more likely than those with employer-based coverage to express support (63 percent to 49 percent).

How do Californians feel their families will fare under the law? About a quarter (26 percent) say they will be better off, a quarter (24 percent) say they will be worse off, and 43 percent do not expect the law to make much difference.

Views on other issues facing the nation

• With a potential government shutdown on Oct. 1 and the deadline to raise the debt limit soon after, Californians are divided over the way Mr. Obama is handling this issue (46 percent approve, 46 percent disapprove).

This is a decline from January, when 56 percent approved of the president's handling of the deficit and debt ceiling.

But a solid majority (63 percent) disapprove of the way congressional Republicans are handling the issue, the same as in January (63 percent disapprove).

• Although comprehensive immigration reform appears to be stalled in Congress, 85 percent of Californians support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who fulfill certain requirements, including a waiting period, paying fines and back taxes, passing criminal background checks, and learning English.

Majorities across parties, regions, and demographic groups favor this idea.

Asked whether border security or addressing the status of illegal immigrants should be a higher priority, 51 percent choose addressing immigrants' status and 41 percent favor securing the nation's border.

"At a time when Californians are deeply divided along party lines on health care reform, there's overwhelming support for a path to citizenship as part of a federal immigration reform package," says Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California.

• There is also consensus among Californians on a key aspect of U.S. policy in response to the Syrian crisis: 70 percent of Californians say they are opposed to military air strikes, a view held across parties, regions, and age, education, income, and racial/ethnic groups.

Asked about the Russian proposal to deal with Syria's chemical weapons, half of Californians (52 percent) are at least somewhat optimistic that it will succeed.

ABOUT THE SURVEY

The PPIC Statewide Survey was conducted with funding from the James Irvine Foundation. Findings are based on a telephone survey of 1,703 California adult residents interviewed on landlines and cell phones from Sept. 10-17.

Interviews were conducted in English or Spanish, according to respondents' preferences.

The sampling error, taking design effects from weighting into consideration, is ±3.7 percent for all adults, ±4.0 percent for the 1,429 registered voters, and ±4.5 percent for the 1,102 likely voters.


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