VTDigger/Castleton Poll: Vermonters split on single payer


A recent VTDigger/Castleton Polling Institute survey shows lukewarm support for single-payer among Vermont's registered voters.

In answer to the question, "Do you support or oppose moving Vermont to a single-payer health care system?" respondents were pretty much split.

Forty percent expressed support, while 39 percent were opposed. The percentages are weighted to extrapolate the sample to represent all registered voters in the state. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent.

Twenty-one percent were unsure or had no opinion, suggesting an information gap in Vermonters' understanding of what single-payer health care would entail.

A recent poll by the Vermont NEA found that universal health care polled better than single payer, suggesting it has become a loaded term in the state.

The poll reveals that opinions on single payer fall along partisan lines, with 75 percent of Republicans opposed, outpacing the 64 percent of Democrats who support it.

Independents appeared to favor single payer, with 41 percent supportive and 35 percent opposed, however Castleton notes that the 4 percent margin of error is higher for subsamples of respondents.

Support for single payer showed a strong correlation with a respondent's level of education, jumping from 24 percent among those with a high school diploma or less to 60 percent among people with graduate degrees.

When asked, "Despite the problems with the launch of the Vermont Health Connect website, do you think the state's health care exchange ultimately will provide greater access to insurance or not?" The weighted response showed that 51 percent believe it will.

Seventy-seven percent of Democrats were optimistic, while only 54 percent of Republicans showed pessimism. Independents fell somewhere in between with 51 percent saying they believe it will increase access and 34 saying it would not, with 16 percent unsure or having no opinion.

The poll showed a strong correlation between age and education and one's belief that Vermont Health Connect will increase coverage.

When asked, "Are you, yourself, now covered by any form of health insurance or health plan or do you not have health insurance at this time?" only 5 percent of the respondents (from a pool of registered voters) said they were not.

That is roughly the same as the most recent figures from the state, collected in 2012 showed that 6.8 percent, or 42,760 people, in the state were without health insurance.

National polling shows the percentage of uninsured in the U.S. for 2012 was 17.5 and has dropped to 15.9 in the first quarter of 2014.


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