As its progressive wing and a groundswell of new and energetic candidates continues to move the Democratic Party to the left, a new Reuters poll out Thursday shows that support for a key plank of this insurgency—Medicare for All—has hit an all-time high with 70 percent of all Americans now in favor of a such program, including nearly 85 percent of Democrats and a full 52 percent of Republicans.
With such levels of popularity, as an accompanying article exploring some of the tensions within the party makes clear, Democratic leaders are being told they ignore the push for Medicare for All at their own peril.
Members of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) policy team also applauded the findings:
While the Reuters article focused mainly on the question of whether progressive leaders like Sanders and congressional candidates like New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nebraska’s Kara Eastman can convince voters to support progressive proposals, the news agency’s polling showed that centrist Democrats, who claim they are trying to appeal to so-called “moderates,” are actually alienating the vast majority of potential voters on key issues.
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But the poll toward the bottom of the page conveyed that centrist Democrats still intent on appealing to moderates who they believe want to preserve the for-profit health sector—one that costs Americans $3.4 trillion per year while delivering worse outcomes than universal healthcare systems like those in the United Kingdom and France—are actually alienating the vast majority of voters.
“Democrats have been fixated for 20 years on this elusive, independent, mythical middle of the road voter that did not exist,” Crystal Rhoades, head of the Democratic Party in Nebraska’s Douglas County, told Reuters. “We’re going to try bold ideas.”
While the new poll showed higher support from Republicans for Medicare for All than other surveys, it is far from an anomaly. Progressive journalist Jordan Chariton and the Democratic Socialists of America noted that other recent polls have found that Americans from both sides of the aisle now favor government-funded universal healthcare in greater numbers than ever before.
Both also expressed deep frustration at Washington insiders’ insistence that the issue is a losing one in areas thought to be conservative-leaning, as in Tuesday’s Politico article which quoted one veteran Democratic pollster as saying, “Voters are smart enough to know that Medicare for all isn’t going to happen right now, or maybe ever.”
The new poll numbers come less than a week after CNN‘s Jake Tapper released a “Friday Fact Check” segment claiming that a study by the Koch brothers-funded Mercatus Center concluded that Medicare for All would cost more than the current healthcare system, ignoring the report’s finding that it would actually save the U.S. $2 trillion in overall healthcare costs.
Proponents of the proposal shared Reuters’ new poll widely, expressing hope that the increasingly positive view of Medicare for All among all Americans would become impossible for pollsters and centrists to ignore.
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