A new American Barometer poll conducted by Hill.TV and the HarrisX polling company found something that on its surface seems pretty incredible—a majority of Republicans support a universal healthcare policy, known popularly as Medicare for All.” The poll, reported by The Hill, found that 52 percent of Republicans supported the policy, while 48 percent opposed it.
“Twenty-five percent said they ‘strongly’ supported ‘Medicare for All,’ while 27 percent said they ‘somewhat’ supported it,” The Hill writes. Meanwhile, “Twenty-two percent said they ‘somewhat’ opposed the idea, while 26 percent said they ‘strongly’ opposed it.”
Yes, you read correctly: according to this poll of 1000 American citizens, only 26 percent of Republicans strongly oppose a Medicare for All program, while 25 percent strongly support it.
This data, and other recent polls like it, shows that much of what’s considered conventional wisdom about the American electorate is wrong. Trump wrote a column just two weeks ago bashing universal healthcare. Republican politicians have spent decades spewing propaganda about small government, convincing their voter base that Obamacare would kill them, and warning about liberal overspending. And yet, when presented with the option of socialized health care, Republican voters still think it’s a better idea than what we have now. Another recent survey found that the focus on healthcare may even be pulling away some senior Republican voters for whom social security and Medicare are top issues.
This shouldn’t be surprising. Medical debt deeply impacts millions of Americans, dramatically lowering their quality of life, and often making them sicker. Who doesn’t want a way out of that? And yet, Democrats, supposedly those on the side of the working class, had to be dragged kicking and screaming into supporting Medicare for All, which they have insisted for years would lose them voters.
The Hill’s campaign reporter Reid Wilson says that Republicans have yet to figure out a strategy on this issue. “This is a debate that has only just started, and there are a lot of Republicans right now who are trying to figure out ways to talk about ‘Medicare for All’ in ways that will bring that number [of supporters] down, and bring the overall number down,” Wilson said on The Hill’s show What America’s Thinking. “Republicans are only beginning to think about how to message this. So this is not baked in at all. This is a debate that plays out over the long term.”
Republican politicians now have the unenviable job of convincing their voters that free healthcare is actually bad. Democrats: please, please, please don’t fuck this up.