Survey finds that more voters think they would receive better healthcare under Obama’s reform plan.

by Peggy Peck, Executive Editor, MedPage Today

BOSTON, Oct. 3 — More voters think they would receive better healthcare under the reform plan put forth by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) than under the proposal by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), according to a Harvard School of Public Health survey.

But the margin of preference was slim, with only 33% of a total of 935 voters polled saying that Obama’s plan would be better for them versus 27% who felt that McCain’s plan was more likely to improve their healthcare.

But about 40% of those polled said neither plan would improve their own healthcare.

The survey was the latest in a series of the Debating Health: Election 2008 surveys from the Harvard Public Opinion Research Program. The telephone survey was conducted Sept. 17 to 21.

In a statement released by Harvard, Humphrey Taylor, chairman of the Harris Poll, said the most interesting finding in this latest survey was that even though Obama is now ahead in national polls that rate each candidate on his ability to handle healthcare, his lead narrows when people are asked to gauge how Obama’s proposals would affect them personally.

As a result, “these are not bad results for the McCain campaign,” Taylor said.

Moreover, when the results from two groups considered critical in the tight presidential race — independents and the elderly — were analyzed, a majority of those key voters felt the two plans were peas in a pod.

Independents and elderly who said the plans differed were evenly split on the impact for them, with 26% of independents saying McCain’s plan was better versus 24% who gave Obama’s plan the edge. Among seniors, 27% said Obama had the better plan versus 27% who said McCain’s was better.

Obama did score better with women (38% versus 21%), but 41% of women said there was no difference between the plans. In general, men favored McCain’s plan.

Obama was, however, the clear winner among the uninsured with 45% favoring the Obama plan versus 14% who said they would do better with McCain’s approach to healthcare.

Overall, people also said that Obama’s plan was likely to provide higher quality care (27% versus 21%) with lower payments (27% versus 19%).

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Reviewed by Zalman S. Agus, MD; Emeritus Professor, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Published: October 03, 2008

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